Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Men and Marriage (formerly Sexual Suicide) by George Gilder
George Gilder may be the most brilliant man I have ever read. Even though I struggled with “Speaking of George Gilder,” which was a book quoting him, this book by him is absolutely brilliant. I may have to buy it.
Gilder has written “a revised and expanded edition of Sexual Suicide” which he wrote in 1973. The revised version of the book now titled, “Men and Marriage” was written in 1986. It may as well have been written yesterday. It’s insights are so relevant and apropos of today’s issues, I couldn’t put it down.
The preface begins with this stunning declaration, “the differences between the sexes are the single most important fact of human society. The drive to deny them -- in the name of women’s liberation, marital openness, sexual equality, erotic consumption, or homosexual romanticism -- must be one of the most quixotic crusades in the history of the species.” The rest of the book strives to support such a powerful and politically incorrect thesis.
It starts with the basics of biology. “Male sexuality remains a paramount fact of life and the chief challenge to civilized society and democratic politics.” Men, left alone, are the naked nomads Guilder previously wrote about. We deny this fact at our own peril. The essential truth is that all of civilization exists to bring male impulsivity under the subordination of the female long-term horizons. Because women bear the children and are responsible for the well-being of the child for many years thereafter, she demands that a man commit to her, take care of her, and provide for her. If he wants legitimate children of his own, he must subdue his barbarian nature and begin thinking of the long-term future. He discovers love. Love, in turn, offers depth, companionship, and loyalty.
Human civilization began as a group of hunters and gatherers. This pattern fit most naturally with males from every society. Yet it appears that women helped in the push towards a more agriculture society which better fit their biology and long-term thinking. However, this led to the central question every people group now faces, what to do with the men?
For the least civilized groups, men participated in ritual, hunting parties, or warfare to live out their masculine impetuousness. But the industrial revolution changed that and demanded men prove they could support a family based on economic worth. Men’s energy became channeled into “work, initiative, love, and responsibility for a wife and children.” Modern society therefore became highly dependent on the institution of marriage to both civilize and properly focus the male nature, to “tame the barbarians.”
Women set the parameters. “If [a man] finds work that affirms his manhood and a girl who demands that his sexuality succumb to hers, he is likely to become a valuable and constructive citizen.” If he cannot find these things, he becomes a anathema to civilized society, with a great ability to wreak havoc. However, as women enter the workforce and compete with men for jobs and money, the ability of a man to find a good job and a girl willing to marry him and bear his children diminishes greatly.
Liberation movements today have led to disaster. As women are pushed into the workforce, they often find men higher up the economic ladder to marry. Left behind are those young men just starting out. Women do not marry down. We begin to trade monogamy for serial marriages as older men succumb to the young women in their prime. Older women and younger men are left out. But even these princesses are trapped in a web of their own making. They know they too will be left behind in a few short years. They feel the weight of being used as a trophy. “The removal of restrictions on sexual activity does not bring equality and community. It brings ever more vicious sexual competition.”
We devolve from monogamy, essentially “one to a customer” to a form of polygamy. The beautiful balance of monogamy is destroyed as people are free to act on their covetousness and lusts, trading one partner for another, leaving devastated families in the wake.
Yet those left behind single young men will get their revenge. “Violence and crime join with mental illness, mild neurosis, depression, addiction, AIDS, institutionalization, poverty, unemployment, and nightmares to comprise the specialized culture of single men in America.” Finally, we see the correlation between break down of marriage and homosexuality. Homosexuality provides the ultimate male escape from the drudgery of women and family and responsibility. They are free to live hedonistic, unattached lives of impetuousness. Without the women willing to tame the men and give them long-term horizons, “civilized societies break down in to polygynous and homosexual formations, with related outbreaks of feminism and pornography.” To see what this looks like, we need only look to the ghetto where welfare and poverty programs have driven men out of the home as they become increasingly replaced by a check.
“The national elites remain largely incapable of offering programs of communal affirmation and male socialization that would in any way reduce crime, violence, and narcotic escapism, divorce, abandonment, and sexual disorder... Liberals would make the problems far worse by subsidizing them... But many conservative men are little better. Lacking the guts to rebuff the upper-class feminist ladies, they go along with most of the feminist agenda.”
We make the problem worse the more barriers we destroy between male and female roles. We have made all education coeducational despite it’s noticeable failure to produce better results. We put women in the military, despite thousands of years of received wisdom to protect women as bearers of future generations. Women displace men in the workforce creating a state of suspicion and resentment as women fight imaginary “discrimination” and demand “equal pay for comparative worth.” (who decides which jobs have “comparative worth”?)
“The provider role of men not only gives the society the benefit of a lifetime of hard work oriented toward long-term goals. It also channels and disciplines male energies and aggressions that otherwise turn against that society. By contrast, full-time work by mothers of small children comes at a serious ... cost.”
Today, we have a society run by the social scientists. Anthropologists inform us that patriarchy, religion, and private property are universal to all human societies. The rare tribes that eschew any one of these characteristics fail to thrive over time. Yet one tribe is “so abjectly retarded, or so mystically impervious to its own nature, that it simultaneously rejects and tries to abolish all three of these human characteristics -- sex role, religions, and property rights.” That would be the tribe of social scientists.
From all of this, we can conclude: “The different roles of men and women, the love that arises from them, the allegiance to one’s own family, the worship of God, the possession and improvement of property, the production of wealth, the cultivation of excellence and beauty, the competitive masculine rituals of sport and play, the emergence of loyalty to kin and community, church and country are all among the highest values of human life. Because they spring from human reality, they can be fulfilled in ordered freedom in a democratic society. Achieving economic planning, income equality, bureaucratic rationality, and sexual liberation... requires a totalitarian state.”
The Left, in trying to undo nature itself, is at heart totalitarian. Oh to live life the way God intended, adhering to healthy sex roles, worshiping something outside ourselves, and delighting in honest, value-creating labor! What a different world that would be.