Why has the female sex lost its mind?

(Note: see the continuation of this discussion in a later entry.)

In an entry earlier today, I referred to “the insane world view and insane behavior of today’s young women by which they routinely and repeatedly put themselves in situations where they get raped and murdered.” I then copied Shelly Reuben’s commonsense (but today commonly disregarded) advice for young women and their parents that would avoid such outcomes.

In response to which, James N. wrote:

Fascinating that you posted the life lessons for girls today. Our town is overwhelmed by the murder of a young mother, with five small children, on Mother’s Day. She has an ex-husband with a restraining order, several boyfriends two of whom fought in public the night before the murder, and she died of multiple stab wounds in the early morning hours in time to be found by her children in their pajamas.

The last murder in our town was in 1961.

I have often mentioned to my wife that girls growing up today do not know the simplest things, things my grandmother knew from her mother and her mother, on and on back to the Dark Ages.

Girls today (and women, too) put themselves in mind-shatteringly unsafe situations, often pulling their children in with them. How is it that the simplest, most straightforward and uncomplicated things about boys and men are invisible to these girls and women?

In this horrible case, which has shattered the sense of safety and trust of literally hundreds of small children, the most common comment is “it sounds like domestic violence.”

Actually, what they mean, what “domestic violence” often means, is sexual jealousy. Yes, there are degenerate men who abuse their women for reasons of their internal demons. But so, so many homicides of young women today are reprises of “la crime passionelle,” an ancient and very well understood phenomenon.

Girls and women will never be safe until they know what their grandmothers knew about sex. And you won’t find that on the “Sex and the City” official website, or in Cosmo.

LA replies:

You’re right about sexual jealousy. Which, duh, double duh, is why marriage exists. Let’s spell this out in very simple terms. When it becomes common in a society for women to get sexually involved with men who are not their husbands, that means (to repeat the point from the other side) that lots of men are getting sexually involved with a woman who is not their wife. In many cases, the man becomes fiercely attached to that relationship. The woman then ends the relationship, and either gets a new boyfriend or doesn’t. Either way, her former boyfriend can’t live without her, can’t stand her rejection of him, goes nuts, and kills her. It’s the story of Carmen, with tiny variations, over and over and over.

In traditional society, this type of event happens far less frequently for the simple reason that women in such a society have zero or very few sexual relationships outside marriage, so that you do not have this mass phenomenon of women dumping men they’ve been sleeping with. (Of course men dump women too, but here we’re talking about the dynamics of homicidal male rage, which is much more common than homicidal female rage.)

This type of murder is so common, the reaction leading to it seems so primal, that I don’t know that it can be explained. I don’t know what the man feels he accomplishes for himself by killing the woman who has rejected him. If he feels he cannot live without her, why not kill himself?

Ok, maybe this is it: It’s about the man asserting power over the woman who at present has so much power over him. At present, she is using her power to reject him, which is putting him in unbearable hell. So the man will get out of hell by asserting his power over her. He does this by taking away her power to hurt him, which he does by killing her. Is that it?

James N. replies:

Here’s a link to the story.

Much of what is known in town about this event has the status of rumor and has not been confirmed by the State Police or the DA. That being so, perhaps it shouldn’t go up on your website. The victim was the school nurse for grades K-3 in the local school.

But the sexual jealousy point stands. Men will kill over this (that’s why there are successful polygamous cultures, but no polyandry). The rubric of “domestic violence,” the restraining order culture, seems to say that since it is against the law for men to do this, it is reasonable for women to act in a way that evokes this response.

Just like flagrant, whorish displays of clothing, the message from women to men is “we have the power, we have the laws and the courts, we can do whatever we want, we’re freeeee … ”

Sadly, sometimes things go beyond words and laws.

LA replies:

Thanks. But what do you think of my theory?

James N. replies:

Well, you’re right that this reaction is primal. As such, I don’t know that is has an explanation other than, “That’s the way we’re made.”

Of course, that’s why the Creator intended matrimony for us.

The feeling is so familiar—like weasels crawling under your flesh, giving you no peace, no rest. To annihilate the cause of that terrible feeling—well, that’s why such a murder used to be called “second degree.” The politician’s condemnation of “domestic violence,” making it not a mitigating factor but an aggravating factor, is just another way to say men’s feelings don’t matter, or, more exactly, that they shouldn’t feel what they feel.

Right or wrong, a woman can own any man
She can take him inside her and hold his soul in her hand
And leave him as weak and weary as a newborn child
Fighting to get his first breath and open his eyes.

Willie Nelson, If You Could Touch Her at All (1981)

LA replies:

You wrote:

Well, you’re right that this reaction is primal. As such, I don’t know that is has an explanation other than, “That’s the way we’re made.”

Of course, that’s why the Creator intended matrimony for us.

Yes. It’s precisely because sexual desire and attachment is so powerful that marriage is necessary for the human race.

If I may be permitted a little speculation about God-directed human evolution (since the Darwinians keep spinning out their imagined evolutionary scenarios, why can’t I spin out mine?), we could say that God implanted such strong sexuality in the human race, in order to make marriage necessary, which in turn made civilization possible.

In short, God designed man for civilization. That is the true source of human evolution.

(I have a whole thesis about this that I haven’t gotten around to writing down.)

James N. writes:

But how about my point? Girls don’t know what their grandmothers knew, and not just their grandmothers, but all their ancestor women going back to the beginning of time.

What’s the progressive explanation of this? All those women were wrong? Women are different now? What, what, WHAT?

(I have four daughters ages 11, 10, 7, and 5, and we are expecting our fifth girl in 3 weeks. The issue of what girls need to know is very much on my mind.)

LA replies:

But EVERYTHING that makes up the common stock of mankind’s wisdom in general and of our own culture in particular—habits, beliefs, concepts of right and wrong, ways of doing things developed over centuries and millenia—has been thrown out by modern liberalism, which does not allow anything but equal freedom for all. Why should the ancient common sense of the female sex fare any better in the midst of this cultural holocaust than the rest of our moral and cultural norms?

LA continues:

I agree with all your points: about sexual jealousy and how the euphemism of “domestic violence” covers it up; about polygamy and polyandry; about the “restraining-order culture” and how it sends the message to women that they do not need to exercise normal caution themselves; and, of course, about women’s aggressive assertion of freedom. I would add that connected with this are the simultaneously emasculating and enraging messages that women send to men.

Mark P. writes:

Regarding your post, it’s a very good article, but I think there is a simpler answer: today’s woman/girl is attracted to thuggish, violent, high-testosterone men. These are men who are usually physically powerful and attractive to a lot of other women, so the marginal value of any single woman to them is much less. Furthermore, their high-T natures put them into contact with other high-T men where violence is inevitable.

In other words, wrestle with Rottweilers, and you will get bit.

Liberalism has not so much thrown out a woman’s common sense but it has created an environment where the attributes their grandmothers looked for in a man are no longer necessary. Society has allowed women to pursue “bad boys” and “alpha” males for excitement and sexual thrills, instead of the more stable, committed and “boring” mass of men their grandmothers went for. This is why we’re seeing a gaping maw sucking down young women.

Look at some ot the pop-culture that is out there. One of the most popular movies to date is Twilight ($390 million worldwide) This is a story about a teenage girl falling in love with a vampire. This movie encapsulates everything about young women and their choices. The vampire represents the ultimate alpha male because of his superhuman strength, speed and sexual magnetism. At the same time, this superior man finds the woman unworthy because, after all, being human, she is his food. Despite this contradiction, he is somehow attracted to her in a non-foodie way and he protects her against other vampires who don’t care for this unnatural relationship. Oh … and this complete nonsense was written by a Mormon housewife and mother of three.

In the real world, women seek the love of clearly superior men who find them unworthy, resulting in the carnage we see around us. Women are putting themselves in these situations in an effort to get what they want.

I would also disagree with the idea that somehow family is the natural state of mankind. In reality, the natural state of mankind is a mother and her children (as the feminists claim). The family, instead, is the natural state of civilization. The monogamous marriage of patriarchal control and exclusive sexual access guarantees each man a woman and thus gives him a stake in the civilization around him. This reduces one major source of conflict and allows men to cooperate more easily. In fact, this exclusive sexual access is a hallmark feature of Western Civilization and a major reason why it surged ahead against the various polygamous societies of Africa and the Middle East.

What women want today is a polyandryous society that still maintains a “Sex and the City” civilization. They somehow expect to limit sexual access to the five percent of men they find attractive while the rest toil away to make life easier and more comfortable for them. It ain’t gonna happen. Ask the women of Iran, Lebanon and Afghanistan what happened to their freedom when Western feminism was overthrown.

Kristor writes:

I would love to hear from Laura Wood on this subject.

Laura, what say you?

Here’s what I say: this is what happens when you abandon the idea that things have a nature, an essence, and that they differ from each other essentially. This is what happens when you abandon the idea that men are essentially different than women. This is what happens when you abandon the idea that there is a truth out there, that does not change no matter what we might wish.

The reality is that change can only occur fruitfully within the walls of a fortress that is built to withstand the unremitting attack of death. The fortress may be built of stone (as at Hadrian’s Wall), of men (as in Sparta), or of virtue (as in Victorian England)—to work for very long anywhere it requires all three. But, however, it is a fortress nonetheless, and it provides shelter and room for the flora and fauna of civilization to flourish in all their variety. But let the flora once begin to undermine the walls of the fortress, and all will be lost. We cannot even begin to undertake the satisfaction of our desires without the fortress. Only within the pale is there life and order, and a surplus of life and order, that can be expended in such things as social experiment—in theatre, in make-believe, presented as if it were real and substantive.

Once the walls come down, the first to go will be those who live as if wishing could make it so.

And here’s the thing about these women, vis-a-vis the bloody primordial reality of sex: the conventions of legality are the merest froth upon the surface of those depths. Every time I read the words, “restraining order,” I smirk, and grieve. Any man who merits a restraining order will not be restrained thereby. A restraining order is handwriting on the wall, a confession that all is lost already, and murder will sooner or later be done, either upon bodies or upon souls. In such a situation, one thing only will suffice to stem disaster: men ready and able to do violence in defense of women. And what sensible man will risk such violence to his own person, 24/7, unless in defense of a woman he properly construes as devoted solely to him? Lacking such men, the women are lost, unless they pack heat.

My wife can sleep a little better at night knowing that I will die to defend her, against all odds, and without a moment’s hesitation—as the mother of my kids, and as my own, my very own, beloved, who is mine and no man else’s.

LA replies:

Your comment is like poetry, Kristor, poetry together with deep thought about the meaning of society.

You start with the majestic image of the walls of stone, or of men, or of morality around the city that provide the physical safety and order that are the condition for creativity and the flourishing of civilized life. Then you move the focus in closer to the view of the safety that a husband provides to his wife, that safety women have thrown away via their nonmarital relationships with boyfriends who turn vengeful and violent, leaving the women with no protection excert for a restraining order, an impotent piece of paper replacing the walls of civilization. Finally you bring the view in for a close-up, the personal image of your wife feeling protected by you, so that, just as the wall of stones, men, or morality around the city allows for the city’s flourishing, the husband’s personal protection of his wife allows for her flourishing.

Your comment does not present or claim to present the totality of what society and male-female relationships are about, it is not reducing them to the theme of protection. It is, however, showing how protection and security is the indispensable basis for the more creative qualities that modern people value over order.

Kristor replies:

Thanks. Thanks too for your reply. I had not even realized that three-layered structure was present in the piece, but it is. The walls of the fortress function as such only because the men who stand at the ramparts are willing to die for their wives, mothers, and daughters—and for each other’s wives, mothers and daughters; and because they all know that they are prepared to make this sacrifice for each other, to the ultimate benefit of their own families. Only thus can they cohere as a fighting unit.

So when I stand for my wife against an intruder within the pales of our house, in a sense I stand for all men and women against the forces of chaos and death.

I’m not sure why this association crops up now, but it does. Many years ago my wife and I were visiting her mother’s home town in Austria, Klagenfurt. It is a beautiful ancient place—once a Roman fort—situated in a deep, gorgeous Alpine valley. Strolling about, we came upon a plaque on the town wall, next to one of the main gates. My wife translated from the German. It commemorated a day in the 1600’s when the town was surrounded by an immense Turkish army, bent on death and destruction. The town was completely isolated and on its own. The men of the town, seeing that defense was impossible against such a horde, all sallied forth in a body to do battle. They were slaughtered, to the last boy. I cannot imagine a more doughty and beautiful thing.

The plaque said nothing of what happened next. One can only imagine.

May 12

Laura W. writes:

Mr. Auster says, of these tragic cases, “It’s about the man asserting power over the woman who at present has so much power over him. At present, she is using her power to reject him, which is putting him in unbearable hell. So the man will get out of hell by asserting his power over her. He does this by taking away her power to hurt him, which he does by killing her.”

The interesting thing about feminism is that it supposedly discovered the powerlessness of women, pulled back the veil of history and revealed that civilization only hides the power men have over women. In order to prove this monumentally false discovery, it deliberately obscured the power women have always had over men. Feminism stems ultimately from a hatred of woman qua woman. It must continually and repeatedly reinforce to women that they have no power except that acquired through material positions. It must lie. The ignorance of young women today is by no means accidental.

Kristor makes a good point about restraining orders. The whole psychology of it is sick. The restraining order aggravates a jealous man and it doesn’t keep him away. It’s sad. Brothers and fathers were once aggressive in defending women. This still happens in working class communities where masculinity survives. But, so many men are caught up in the complexity of their own sex lives, why get involved in their sister’s? The lack of order Kristor talks about so well takes everyone down with it.

Mark P. makes such an important point when he says, “In reality, the natural state of mankind is a mother and her children (as the feminists claim). The family, instead, is the natural state of civilization.” If more people would see our new matrilineal family as a reversion to primitivism rather than as an interesting novelty, they would reject it.

The psychology of why a woman is attracted to these men is complicated. It’s the weakness she perceives within a strong man that often makes her go to suicidal lengths. She believes only she can tend to that weakness, that the rest of the world doesn’t see it, and that she will help him overcome his impulses. It’s narcissistic, but also deeply natural.

James N. is a lucky man. The murder he cites is very sad, but he’s raising his daughters in a place where, until now, there hasn’t been a murder since 1961, where people seem to have retained some sense of horror of violence. I didn’t know such places existed in America anymore.

Joel LeFevre writes:

Here’s a Bible selection that comes to mind from the thread about loose women and vengeful men:

But whoso committeth adultery with a woman lacketh understanding: he that doeth it destroyeth his own soul. A wound and dishonour shall he get; and his reproach shall not be wiped away. For jealousy is the rage of a man: therefore he will not spare in the day of vengeance. He will not regard any ransom; neither will he rest content, though thou givest many gifts. (Proverbs 6:32-35)

LA replies:

At first glance, the reference here seems to be to the rage and jealousy of the husband against the man who has had an affair with his wife, and the warning is to a man not to commit adultery with a married woman, all of which makes the passage seem inapt for our discussion. But that’s only on the surface. Functionally speaking, today’s jilted boyfriend is like the cuckolded husband. His girl friend (whom he sees for all practical purposes as his wife) has “betrayed” him (with or without another man), and his jealous rage (against his “wife,” not against the other man) will not rest content. The warning is thus not only to a man not to have an affair with a married woman; it’s to a woman not to have an affair with a man and then dump him. The underlying principle is the same: social order depends on keeping sexuality within marriage. That at least is the ideal and standard.

LA writes:

To repeat, here’s the pattern, the frequently recurring pattern, that we’re considering: a woman gets involved with a man; the woman breaks up with the man; the man gets enraged and obsessive and behaves in a threatening way toward the woman; the woman gets a restraining order; and, finally, the man kills the woman. But that’s not the end of the pattern. The last step of the pattern is that the society never reflects about any of this, never notices the pattern, never asks why this pattern keeps recurring.

It seems to me that this pattern, which includes society’s non-recognition of the existence of the pattern, can be explained very simply in terms of the traditionalist analysis of liberalism. The operating moral principle of liberalism, at least as regards sexuality, is that all behaviors between consenting adults (or, increasingly, between all consenting persons over the age of 16 or so, as the age of consent seems to keep declining) are equally permitted. So, if an unmarried man and woman want to take up a sexual relationship with each other, that’s ok. If one of the parties to this relationship, in this case the woman, then wants to end the relationship, which she does by removing her consent from it and thus removing its mutually consensual aspect, that’s ok. The fact that non-marital sexual relationships that are ended by the woman frequently lead to the murder of the woman cannot be noticed by society, because to notice it would be to have critical thoughts about non-marital sexual relationships, and such critical thoughts about non-marital sexual relationships would violate the cardinal principle of liberalism, which is equal freedom for all consensual behaviors. The upshot is that the society has no basis to criticize the recurrent pattern of behavior that leads to so many murders.

Anna S. writes:

I’m sorry, in your reading of domestic homicide, are the men who commit these horrendous acts completely innocent? Do they carry no fault whatsoever for their behavior? Is attempting to escape an abusive marriage a greater “sin” than murder?! Many of the women you mention in your article and commentary were attempting to leave a situation that was dangerous for themselves and their children. They were attempting to protect themselves and their families. And they ended up dead. Your logic escapes me.

LA replies:

What have I or anyone in the thread said that suggests that murderers are innocent, let alone “completely innocent”? Nothing said here reduces criminal guilt in the slightest. We’re not speaking here of the issue of criminal guilt. We’re saying that these criminal acts have become very common, and that society doesn’t recognize or criticize the behaviors that gives rise to them. Specifically, I’m saying that widespread non-marital relationships produce breakups, jealousies, and rages that increase the incidence of such murders.

Also, I don’t mean to suggest that this problem is limited to boyfriends. Of course there are husbands who have murdered their wives when the wives try to get away from an abusive marital relationship. And of course women need to protect themselves and to be protected from such men. But the problem is overwhelmingly connected with non-marital sexual relationships, not marriage. My point is that modern society, by devaluing marriage and normalizing non-marital sexual relationships, massively increases the hurts, rages, and jealousies that lead to murder.

LA continues:

Also, when I said, “… the woman gets a restraining order; and, finally, the man kills the woman,” I did not mean that the restraining order causes the murder (though in some cases, apparently, it does enrage the man further) I meant, picking up on a point made by others in this thread, that the restraining order is an impotent substitute for the true protection of women, true protection of women having been thrown away by the devaluing of marriage.

Lydia McGrew writes:

I wanted to add something to your on-going discussion of sexual jealousy and women who do stupid things. A couple of years ago I read a fascinating article, to which I didn’t keep the URL, by a doctor (in England, I believe). He talked about a related but slightly different phenomenon to the one you describe: Women who become sexually involved with absolute thugs, men who live in a perpetual state of rage, physical abusiveness, and sexual jealousy, even when the woman has given them not the slightest cause. He described the type of man in some detail, specifying how one could recognize such a man. The description included things like scars and a shaved head and apparently the type included both blacks and whites. According to him, this type of man assumes from the outset of the relationship that the woman is unfaithful to him or is about to leave him and tries constantly to terrorize her into faithfulness by using threats and outrageous demands. (For example, she has to have food ready hot for him whenever he happens to come home, even though he comes home at unpredictable times, and she is slapped around if she fails.) Evidently these are hyper-aggressive guys, predatory types, who go prowling through life regarding all women as whores and all other men as sexual rivals. The point of the piece was that he could not understand why women got involved with these men in the first place. He was giving his perspective as a doctor who was constantly having to treat these women’s injuries.

LA replies:

Well, this backs up Mark P.’s comment that many women are drawn to dangerous, hyper testosteronal men.

Further, the fact that women are drawn to such men is itself a symptom of modern Nihilist society in its Vitalist stage, in which excitement becomes the main object of life, as a way of escaping the deadness imposed by the earlier (Liberal and Realist) stages of Nhilism.

(My brief summary of the Nihilist dialectic is re-linked by me here and further discussed by Mark Richardson here.)

Steven Warshawsky writes:

Have you read F. Roger Devlin on this topic? Home Economics, Sexual Utopia in Power, etc. Here are some links. Very interesting analysis of female sexuality and its role in society.

N. writes:

First off, thank you and the other writers, especially Kristor, for carrying this topic forward. It is of great significance, because of the cultural effects involved. The contrast of “family” as woman-with-children as a state of nature vs. the family that is fundamental to a state of civilization is extremely important.

Now then, you write regarding la crime passionalle:

“The last step of the pattern is that the society never reflects about any of this, never notices the pattern, never asks why this pattern keeps recurring.”

Unhappily this is often not and thisat all true. Such crimes often give rise to protests against the crime, similar to the “take back the night” protests, as if murder were some sort of natural disaster similar to a tornado. Then there are variations: demands for yet more “training” of men in sensitivity, demands for yet more laws, demands for yet more state authority to intervene in “troubled families,” sometimes shrill feminist denunciations of “patriarchy” as the “root cause of the crime,” and so forth. [LA replies: When I said that society never reflects on the pattern, I was not referring to “reflection” that is only part of the same pattern and continues the problem.]

This brings me to one more point, the replacement of husbands by the state. It can no longer be controversial to observe that for the single mother and her child or children, the only sure provider and defender is the state. It is the state that puts food onto the table, provides a place to live, and it is the state that is supposed to be the protector as well. Election poll numbers that show me unmarried women voting for the party of bigger and more intrusive government consistently for years is just one data point, there are many others I could cite. The point is, for the single woman and especially the single mother, the state performs many of the functions of a husband and/or father.

Therefore, when one of these horrible crimes occurs to a young, unprotected woman, or to a mother estranged from her latest “boyfriend,” note how the rage is often directed at the state. More should have been done! Clearly protection orders aren’t enforced strictly enough! They should have more authority! This rant does not always occur, but often we see it, and I’ve been puzzled at the emotional intensity of the reaction. But in the course of writing this note it has become obvious to me that if some number of women unconsciously regard the state as a husband-substitute or even daddy-substitute, then a failure of the state to protect and provide must be viewed as a betrayal.

The common use of the term “boyfriend” and “girlfriend” by people who have left high school far behind has begun to grate upon me as yet another example of the hyperextension of adolescence. Women of 30 or more summers surely do not have a “boyfriend,” they have a lover. The words we use affect how we think, and when I see women with children talking like teenagers, I cannot help but wonder in what other ways they think like high school girls. [LA replies: Re boyfriend and girlfriend, I agree in principle, but I must say that I infinitely prefer those words, inappropriate though they may be, to “partner.”]

Jacob M. writes:

I second Steven Warshawsky’s recommendation of F. Roger Devlin. The most important articles of his to read are in PDF format at this site.

Having read Devlin, I understand what the reader who recommended the blog Roissy in DC to you was trying to say, only with Devlin, you can get the same kind of analysis without the pornographic diversions. Basically, when it comes to the broken relations between the sexes in modern society, mainstream social conservatives are as useless as liberals, because of their misplaced notions of chivalry. Misplaced, because they are based on the assumption of innate sexual innocence and goodness to women, whereas in reality women’s sexual nature is just as depraved as men’s, and they only ever seemed otherwise because of the enormous amount of work traditional society put into making them so, i.e., into overcoming women’s natural depravity.

LA replies:

Yes, where did this mainstream social conservative idealization of woman come from?

Mark P. writes:

I’m glad to see that my comment inspired some good discussion.

Some points:

Laura W. wrote:

“The interesting thing about feminism is that it supposedly discovered the powerlessness of women, pulled back the veil of history and revealed that civilization only hides the power men have over women. In order to prove this monumentally false discovery, it deliberately obscured the power women have always had over men.”

I would say this is just the opposite. Feminism over-emphasizes the power that women have over men and it actually establishes new powers that never existed before. Women simply occupied different roles in a traditionalist society, roles that rarely conflicted with one another. The power derived from such roles were thus granted to women by the men around them.

The reality is that women are rarely if ever equal to men. Men are bigger, faster and stronger than women, meaning that women are often helpless and easily victimized. In her moment of need, a woman is powerless.

Laura W. wrote:

“The psychology of why a woman is attracted to these men is complicated. It’s the weakness she perceives within a strong man that often makes her go to suicidal lengths. She believes only she can tend to that weakness, that the rest of the world doesn’t see it, and that she will help him overcome his impulses. It’s narcissistic, but also deeply natural.”

Actually, it is not complicated at all. Aggressive, powerful men stimulate a woman’s primitive instincts. Humans have only lived within civilization for 5-10 percent of their history. 90 percent of that history was spent in stone-age primitivism, a primitivism typified by transient males and by the “family” being the mother and her children. Without patriarchy and its male investment in society, it stands to reason that human reproduction was, for a good chunk of that history, based on murder and rape. The selective pressure on this existing population probably produced female offspring who would be receptive to alpha males who were very good a killing their rivals and taking their women. For 10k years, civilization has controlled this instinct, but it has not eliminated it. With civilization breaking down, this womanly instinct is now re-asserting itself.

By the way, women despise weakness … they do not “tend” to it. Aggressive, even abusive, behavior, even behavior that leads to injury, is a mark of alpha-ness. Show me the bruised face of a battered woman, and I will show you the face of a woman in love.

Yes, I just wrote that women love their abusers … which is why they put themselves in the position of being killed. Lydia McGrew hints at this very fact when she references Theodore Dalrymple’s Life at the Bottom. Dalrymple noted the extensive number of female nurses and doctors that had thug boyfriends and the case of a woman who went back to her boyfriend after he treated her for a broken arm. In general, one can watch cops and see women who refuses to press charges against their abusive boyfriends, or Lifetime Movie Network shows about the woman who just “couldn’t leave her abusive husband.”

The most famous recent example of this phenomenon is Rihanna. Her physical abuse was widely publicized. And what did she do? This woman … a famous celebrity, considered by many to be one of the most beautiful women in the world, who is independently wealthy and would have no scarcity of suitors … went back to her abusive boyfriend. Only under massive public pressure did she even file charges against him. Occam’s razor: She went back because she loves him. And she loves him because he beats her.

LA replies:

I think Mark P. has taken an idea that has an element of truth it it and taken it too far. He’s treating sick behavior as though it were the norm.

Richard P. writes:

During the height of the PC reign of terror of the mid-1990s I was part of a conversation about a news story. A woman had left a bar intoxicated around 1:00 a.m. and was later found raped and murdered. One of the men in the conversation asked “What was she doing walking around drunk by herself at one in the morning?”

He was immediately set upon by every woman in the group with pointed questions like “Are you saying she asked for it?” or “Are you saying she deserved it?.” This was followed by “Women should be able to go anywhere they like without being attacked”—a point that manages to be both obvious and unrealistic at once.

These were not academic feminists either. They were blue collar health care workers. But they found offensive the very idea that there may be any negative consequences for their behavior. The fact that rape and murder were illegal meant, to them, that rape and murder should have been banished from the human condition and that no behavior changes should ever be necessary to help ensure their own safety. Magical thinking.

Tom Wolfe wrote a wonderful essay many years ago called “The Great Relearning.” It described how many of the hippies of Haight-Asbury had disposed of the wisdom of the ancients including in basic hygiene. The doctors that treated them were forced to “relearn” how to treat illnesses that had been so long eradicated that they didn’t even have Latin names. It seems we are having to relearn far too much. We are having to relearn that jealousy can lead to violence and that single women alone on the streets late at night can be in danger. How pathetic.

P.S. Let me also add to those recommending Devlin, who is one of the most insightful writers on the modern war between the sexes I’ve found.

Adela G. writes:

Anna S. writes: “Your logic escapes me.”

That’s self-evident.

Nowhere in this entry (or anywhere else that I can recall) have you ever suggested that somehow murderers are innocent despite their undeniable guilt in committing crimes. Instead, I infer from your remarks that you are calling attention to a moral climate or atmosphere that tends to make men more likely to commit the murder of their female partners. To state that men are influenced by their environment to be more (or less) likely to behave in certain ways is not to excuse them from any wrong-doing.

Anna S. writes: “Many of the women you mention in your article and commentary were attempting to leave a situation that was dangerous for themselves and their children. They were attempting to protect themselves and their families. And they ended up dead. Your logic escapes me.

As to this, I infer from Mr. Auster’s remarks here and elsewhere that he thinks an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

LA writes:

Ok, I’ve read the first part of F. Roger Devlin’s six part article, “Home Economics,” the first part being, “Two conflicting conceptions of feminine dignity; feminism as male-role-envy.”

It’s good, but it will take a while to read all six parts.

While there’s more to the article than what I’m about to say, the main idea, very simply, is that in a normal Western society, the relationship between men and women is based on complementarity and cooperation, not equality and fairness. The male role, involving objective thought, guidance, leadership, naturally has primacy over the female role of sympathy and nurturing. Feminists reject this natural complementarity and inequality of function, and envy men and the male role. But, since it is impossible for women to be equal to men functionally, since it is impossible for women actually to fulfill the male role (whether through their own honest efforts or through affirmative action), feminists soon give up the effort to make themselves the equals of men and instead seek equality with men by enviously tearing down men and the male role, wreaking vengeance on men rather than emulating them.

Adam S. writes:

Let me second Jacob M.”s recommendation of Steven Warshawsky’s recommendation of F. Roger Devlin’s articles. I too read those articles recently, and they were one of those rare moments where things become clear and you “see the matrix,” so to speak.

Also, Mark P.’s comment is right on the money.

Gintas writes:

I’ve been reading some of Devlin’s writings, and I endorse the other folks recommendations. He is full of fascinating insights, all the while unreservedly in favor of traditional marriage.

Laura G. writes:

As you know, my field of medicine is child abuse, and almost all my patients are children who have been sexually abused. A central aspect of an evaluation is an interview with the primary caretaker, usually the mother. It is very common or even usual that it is the mother who has introduced the assailant into the household. That may have happened because he is the boyfriend, he is an acquaintance who needed a temporary bed, he is a relative she is doing a favor to, etc. A major aspect of her decision, though, was that she ignored clear signals that the assailant was already known to be a dangerous person. Common parts of the history of the accused assailant are that he drinks heavily, he is already known to have assaulted women, he has a criminal record of violence, he uses foul language and threats against family members. Well, talking to these mothers, who are devastated at the betrayal of their trust and the attack on their child, it usually becomes clear that they are absolutely clueless about the recognition of a dangerous person or situation. A common situation is that the assailant is a chronic drunk, had a pattern of making sexually suggestive comments to a pre-teen daughter, and nevertheless it comes as a total and cataclysmic shock when the man rapes the child. In global terms, she is completely unprepared to use any discretion in picking a partner or visitor, and being often a young woman, she will have more partners. This is definitely part of the “why have women lost their minds” thread of discussion here.

When I see them, the child has already been assaulted, and that must not happen again. So, in the interests of future safety, I have developed a little list that I give the mother. I explain that she is obliged to know the facts about any future person she lets into the house while a child is present, and she must know the answers to the following issues. If the list does not describe him she might have a chance at a happy relationship. If he is on the list, she must walk away. Keeping in mind that this list is designed for women who have already failed one of life’s major tests (keeping her child safe) here it is:

1. Drinking such that a new personality emerges.

2. Use of illegal drugs other than an occasional mary-jane.

3. Heavy use of foul language including especially use of the b, m-f, and h words directed at the woman or child.

4. Law enforcement record other than an occasional speeding ticket.

5. Use of pornography.

6. Rough stuff such that she already knows that a conflict will be settled by superior tonnage.

Sometimes, when the mother reads the list, there is a stunned silence and then tears when she mentions that everyone she has ever been intimate with has each and every of these items. The list comes from my having evaluated about 1500 of these situations, and I think that in a former and saner era, this sort of simple information about whom to avoid would have been known by all young girls and from a young age. Mine certainly never were in doubt that there are dangerous people and situations, and that many can be avoided by very basic observational measures. All very profiling and judgmental, no doubt, and that is absolutely true, too. Judgmental as in “good judgment”.

LA replies:

This is one of the most devastating things I’ve ever read.

I’m always talking about liberalism, loss of belief in right and wrong, non-judgmentalism, etc. BUT HERE IS THE REALITY OF IT: young women utterly blind to obviously and grossly dangerous qualities in men whom they invite into their home. Here are the human results and the REALITY of liberalism. Here is where our social and moral beliefs actually end up in concrete terms, in this state of subrational, almost subhuman cluelessness.

Can you tell me what is the racial breakdown of the clients you’re speaking of?

Also, what does Laura’s observations say about Mark P.’s theory? This isn’t about some wild attraction to dangerous and exciting men. It’s about pure insensibility, pure dullness, the quality of being tuned out from reality.

Laura W. writes:

Laura G. says that she is talking about young women. Is this “pure insensibility,” or is it immaturity, along with acclimation to a trashy culture that contains rough behavior, drugs, and foul language?

Mark P. says the powerlessness of women touted by feminism was indeed real. Historically, women were nothing but powerless in relation to men and feminism had to invent power for them, both out of envy and to correct their natural inequality. Mark is going to have a very hard time backing up this assertion if he’s relying on historical and archaeological evidence rather than Darwinian simplification. The record extending back into earliest human history shows fertility cults, revering the native power of women and maternity itself. As soon as grave markers to individuals show up in later history, there is abundant evidence of the hold of women over men, both as mothers and wives. This was not material power, granted. It was emotional and spiritual.

I say the psychology of women and their attraction to such men is complicated and Mark says, No, it’s not complicated. Women are brutes who are attracted to raw strength because it’s an erotic come-on and that attraction is inextricably built into their nature by evolution.

Both of us agree that women have dangerous attractions, that they often find power alluring for obvious reasons and that civilization, specifically Western civilization, traditionally tamed these attractions. However, I don’t agree that women’s attraction to powerful men is the animalistic thing Mark sees. It often contains what is referred to as, in despicable non-Darwinian terms, human love. Why is that so inconceivable? Aren’t men attracted to women because they’re pretty? Isn’t this attraction clearly out of base evolutionary motives (pretty women suggest fertility)? And, yet don’t they sometimes also grow to love those women as individuals, perceiving something beyond mere prettiness? The two things are not mutually exclusive. We are part-animal, not all.

I say women who are living out the worst Dalrymplean scenarios are experiencing a mixture of base impulses and love.

LA replies:

Yes, Mark’s view is brutally reductive.

And, by the way, I don’t think Mark will take that as a criticism. It’s what he’s into.

Leonard D. writes:

The article mentioned by Lydia McGrew may be The Frivolity of Evil, by Theodore Dalrymple. In any case, I am fairly certain that he wrote whatever article she does have in mind.

Aaron S. writes:

What a great thread—I value your site particularly because you are willing continually to address these issues. Perhaps much would change if more men were willing to speak as forthrightly on gender issues as you have done here.

I was struck by the back-and-forth between Mark P. and Laura W. Both make valid points, but I tend to think Laura is a bit closer to the truth, and here’s why. Mark draws this particular distinction, which at first seems a rather productive way of going about the question:

“I would also disagree with the idea that somehow family is the natural state of mankind. In reality, the natural state of mankind is a mother and her children (as the feminists claim). The family, instead, is the natural state of civilization.”

If one looks closely, however, the implication is that mankind and civilization are opposites, or perhaps even that there is something unnatural about civilization. We should be careful to distinguish the classical and modern senses of “natural”; failing this, we risk tripping continually down the same road to hell paved for us by Hobbes and Rousseau.

Put simply, there is “natural” in the sense of meaning original, uncultivated, unrefined. There is also, however, the richer sense of the term which would include some notion of purpose, function, or end. Therefore, we should say that the civilized man is man fully realized, the civilized woman is woman fully realized. Aristotle, not Hobbes.

If we don’t draw this distinction then the conversation quickly becomes a less nuanced, more reductionist affair, tempers fray, and focus shifts to the question of which sex is capable of the greater depravity.

Thus when Laura says:

“The psychology of why a woman is attracted to these men is complicated. It’s the weakness she perceives within a strong man that often makes her go to suicidal lengths. She believes only she can tend to that weakness, that the rest of the world doesn’t see it, and that she will help him overcome his impulses. It’s narcissistic, but also deeply natural.”

… she is, after all is said and done, on the right track. Mark would have it that this “is not complicated at all.” True only if we speak of natural in the sense of meaning original or perfectly uncultivated, and in parallel, of the women in question as perfectly depraved. Thus, Mark’s analysis speaks to the barest physical aspects of male and female existence, and is for that reason incomplete. It IS complicated psychologically, because for most of these women, the purposive aspects of female nature get mixed with the lower impulses in counterproductive ways. Were this not the case, such vice would be more quickly understood and perhaps, more easily managed. Sin gets its power from taking on a credible appearance of virtue—this is true both for the actor and observer.

But it’s ultimately because we possess the ability to analyze these issues in a non-reductive sense that we’re able to see abused women and abusive men in terms of “sick behavior,” as you say.

QR writes:

This is one of the most thought-provoking threads I’ve read in a long time.

The article Lydia McGrew is referring to is by Theodore Dalrymple, I’m sure of it. I don’t have time to find the exact one I think she’s referring to, but here’s another of his that deals with the subject of male jealousy and violence.

I fourth, or is it fifth by now, the recommendation of the insightful Roger Devlin. In addition, I’d like to suggest Daniel Amneus. He explains in detail how the “natural” family is a mother and children, whereas the civilized family includes a father, and he makes it clear how much difference that makes. He has a shorter piece here.

Mark P. writes:

Regarding the devastating comment by Laura G, you wrote:

“What does Laura’s observations say about Mark P.’s theory? This isn’t about some wild attraction to dangerous and exciting men. It’s about pure insensibility, pure dullness, the quality of being tuned out from reality.”

It sounds to me like Laura’s patients like dating high-T, thuggish alpha males. The swearing, the pornography, the physicality, and the predatory drive toward women (even pre-teen “women”) seems consistent with my theory. There seems to be a type of sexual depravity connected with a woman’s primal nature that was dampened by civilization and is now unleashed.

I don’t know any other way to put it.

LA replies:

While I’m not inclined to agree with Mark, I find, to my own annoyance, that I can’t dismiss his point either. It could be, as Mark seems to imply, that these women didn’t notice the negative and threatening significance of these men’s behavior, because they liked that behavior.

Kristor writes:

No man would let another man who manifested the items on Laura G.’s list into his house with his daughter or wife. Or his dog. Even men who do all the things on that list would not let such men into their houses. Which is yet another argument for the nuclear family.

I think there is something to Mark P.’s Rape & Murder theory. But not everything. My wife says that men break down into two categories: dangerous, and reliable. Some men are dangerous rogues—these would be the ones who look like Laura G.’s list—and some men are reliable milquetoasts. But most men have elements of both. Dangerous men are undeniably attractive; but reliability is attractive, in some ways, too. The ideal man is honest, responsible, intelligent, knowledgeable, hardworking, and courteous—and also, fit, physically courageous, handy, resourceful in a jam, and obviously capable of lethality if he needs to be. Like Odysseus, Natty Bumppo, Lancelot. In other words, a true knight. I doubt it was otherwise in the Paleolithic. It’s tempting to think that before civilization it was every man for himself, nature red in tooth and claw. But stone-age cultures have extremely complex social and moral codes, often ruthlessly enforced. Living as they do much closer to disaster, and much more by their daily wit, such societies have less margin of error than those of wealthy agriculturalists who live in fortresses. When a band of 30 is wholly reliant upon the virtue of 5 or 10 skilled hunters and warriors, acting out doesn’t cut it.

Richard P. is onto something with his notion of magical thinking. The liberal culture inculcates in our kids the idea that because X is the law, X is so. So, because women have the legal right to wander about alone and drunk in the early hours in bad neighborhoods, and because they have also the legal right to be unmolested, so therefore it is just a fact that they can wander about drunk without being molested. Liberals are fascinated with the law; it is their magic incantation, their lever upon reality. They think that if we just pass a law against X, that will solve the problem of X. That’s why they get so ecstatic about Democratic administrations, that will reliably pass laws against evil, thus ending it (and why they hate Republicans, who labor under no such illusions, however they may otherwise fall victim to the liberal credo). They think that the law is sovereign, when in fact the suasion of the law derives from the state’s ostensive monopoly on violence. It is not the law that is sovereign, but the party most capable of violence. I.e., men, and in particular the men who are naturally the most dangerous. Law does not at all restrain that party. They are restrained only by their own virtue and good sense.

Thus when virtue ceases to be preponderant among men, laws must increase. And as with currency, the more laws you make, or need to make, the less valuable they are, and the less purchase each of them has upon behavior. But as morality deflates in the general population, the returns to righteousness go up. The children of the righteous man do better; in the end, and barring catastrophe, their kind will prevail, and rule. Was it ever different?

John Hagan writes:

I would suggest that Western women did not get into the predicament they find themselves in alone. Men of the West, white males, are by and large sniveling lickspittles who are standing by as we speak allowing their culture, their very existence to vanish into the mists of history. Men are the prime-movers of any society. It is men who create ALL the scientific, medical, and innovate technology that run such a society. It is also men who defend any such society with their “physical presence”. What I mean by physical presence is that they are willing to extend themselves in any, and every direction to see that such a society is habitable now, and in the future for their family.

Such is not the case any longer. White men in the West have lost the ability to defend their civilization. What women in her right mind would be attracted to a “liberal white male”? Whatever blame women deserve, and they deserve plenty, cannot be separated from the colossal failure of men to stand-up and be counted in the culture wars. To expect women not to be repulsed by these geldings is asking too much in my opinion.

May 13

Adam S. writes:

If you’re going to read some of the Devlin articles I would recommend “Sexual Utopia in Power” and “Rotating Polyandry and its Enforcers” first.

Jonathan L. writes:

Apropos of the discussion, here is a recent essay by Dalrymple, containing excerpts that are just beyond comment:

“Scarlett died for the simple fact that she was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people, as well as being blitzed with drugs, late at night, in a foreign country.”

LA replies:

Yep. Being in the wrong place at the wrong time, that’ll getcha every time.

Gintas writes:

As the liberal regime gets worse and worse, will all the myriad women who depend on the state as provider and protector stick by it more doggedly, and with complete cluelessness? After reading Laura G.’s comment, the answer may very well be “Yes.” People like that shouldn’t be allowed to vote. To put it in words Devlin used about feminism, the liberal state thrives on its own failures. As families disintegrate and the liberal state takes over the role men once had, and as it keeps failing more and more, women will support it more and more. This fits in well with the marriage gap numbers, where single women are far more likely to vote Democrat than married women. Destroying marriage means more women voting Democrat / Leftism.

Laura G. writes:

I am in an area that has a fairly large black population, and also a huge influx of illegal Hispanics. We seem to see the victims of illegal Hispanics greatly out of proportion with their reported presence, although those data are hard to be sure of. Regarding blacks and whites, I think they are in clinic in relatively similar proportion to the general population.

I think that the failure to recognize danger is very often genuine denial on the part of the woman. She has backed herself into a final corner, and facing the consequences are agonizing, hence the hear-no-evil, see-no-evil approach. Every variation on the basic dynamics occur, but common ones are that the assailant provides some financial support; he may be a father of one of her children (there may be numerous fathers, each with no investment in the well-being of the children of the other fathers); she may have a misguided sense that it is better for her to have a man in the home (misguided, that is, in that this particular man is not better to have around); she may herself be being threatened by him and afraid to eject him; she may love him, she may need to defend her self-image that she “stands by her man”; and so forth. All of these dynamics are alive and well in both blacks and whites, and the racial issues are buried in the overall misery and dysfunction of the situations.

The reason I push along in this field of medicine is that the counties I accept patients from have excellent social services and law enforcement services. The consequences are that genuine and effective remediation of the child’s needs and mother’s abilities, and so forth, usually are actually achieved. Mental health therapy is quite effective these days, and both mother and child are usually obliged (mother especially) to participate. The mother is often required to have a mental health assessment in order to get free of agency supervision, and by the end, there are great improvements in her abilities to make a reasonable safety decision. Other children are assessed and protected as needed, and from that point of view, this is genuine and basic prevention of abuse. We usually watch the child’s school grades jump back up, and very often other medical needs that had also been neglected lead to major improvements in the child’s situation. Children whose mother cannot ensure safety are regularized, often with a relative, and usually do well. We have a vigorous follow-up program, and reabuse or other disasters are very, very rare.

However, in spite of my sympathetic attitude toward mothers and positive attitude about the power of diagnosis and treatment of abuse, I am in agreement with you that there is a very profound and fundamental social and psychic lesion that leads to these situations which should mostly have been avoided at the outset. Many commentators on this thread have nailed many of the issues, and this has been another of the stunningly interesting and thought-provoking discussions you seem to host so often. For me, I feel that a huge part of the genesis is that women gave away their birthright with the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

Ah, yes, the ’60s again. Prior to then, the assumptions were that men supported women and children, were responsible for the family financial welfare, and protected the family unit. Women were responsible for safety and raising of children, refraining from causing uncertainty about parentage, and had constrained expectations about career advancement in that men who supported families were likely to be favored in promotions and pay. After the ’60s, and having come into adulthood in the late ’50s, I got to see the sexual revolution take place close at hand.

There is no doubt in my mind that the bargain that women struck (women get easy sex, complete control of reproduction, and access to competition [sometimes favoritism] in the workplace) was not by any means worth the price that was accurately forseen even at that time (men are released from responsibility for children, easy-come-easy-go on marriages and intimacy which led to endless financial risks for the woman, and a false expectation that raising wonderful children can be readily sandwiched into a life when the primary attention is on financial support of the family by a single parent).

It is a fact that this is a social experiment which no previous society known to mankind has ever before attempted. It remains to be seen if it is a successful experiment. The demographic meltdown of the populations of all Western countries suggests that it is not a successful model for the relations between the sexes, and looks more and more to be a failure of a social model. This failure is likely to be fatal to our societies.

LA writes:

The discussion continues in a new entry.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at May 11, 2009 10:50 PM | Send

Email entry

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):