The Corner

Demonic Males?

Yuval, let’s start though with your comment that the basic civilizing force in society is “the preferences of women”. Um, no. The basic civilizing force is the creation of some degree of material comfort (even if it’s only a regular supply of mammoth meat to the cave), and, hopefully, technological progress. That progress then stimulates demand for some sort of organizing structure in society, and that organizing structure, by creating stability, can often create the conditions for further technological and material advance. A virtuous circle is thus created. Of course, some organizing structures are more helpful than others in that respect. Theocratic societies, for example, certainly offer an organizing structure, but all too often it is one that inhibits or retards progress. Equally, it can be argued that there is such thing as “too much” family. Atomization is good!

I’m still at a loss as to how you justify the assertion that women are better than men at holding themselves to “moral standards.” That rather depends on whose morality and whose standards. What is true (if one is speaking very, very broadly) is that men and women often have different priorities (that pesky nature and nurture again). To say that one is any more “moral” than the other is a leap that I wouldn’t take. Finally, “spirituality.”  There’s clearly a case to be made that women (again as a very, very general rule) are more inclined to religious observance (we could debate why that is), but whether that is a good thing or a bad rather depends on what it is that they are observing. Some religions are a civilizing force, others are the opposite.

I’ll close with a quote from Camille Paglia (someone I’ll take over Rousseau any day). As so often from her, it’s wildly over the top, and as often from her, it contains at least a grain of truth:

“If civilization had been left in female hands we would still be living in grass huts.”

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