Where the Christian manosphere and neoreaction could find wives.

It is a common lament in the internet spheres listed above that there is a distinct shortage of 19 year old virgins with large breasts, slim waists and a surplus of homemaking skills who desire nothing more in life than to have two babies a year while homeschooling, cooking and cleaning for the ever-growing family in a moldy trailer on 29k a year from her “patriarch” or “alpha” or “alpha patriarch”.  Numerous reasons are given for this horrible shortage that never existed before 1963.

But the interesting thing is that there is a giant pool of women who are content with such a disordered, broken understanding of family and patriarchy.  These women tend to be associated with things like the former Vision Forum, the recently disgraced Bill Gothard, and the movement known as “Quiverfull”.  The question is, why aren’t all these men who spend weeks at a time in comment threads on various blogs complaining about how there’s too many “Churchian” women joining one of those legalistic, explicitly male-dominant Christian subcultures and wifing up one of the 10-15 daughters a lot of those people have?

I am definitely not saying the subcultures listed above are healthy, Biblically sound, or very good places for women, children or even the men wielding power improperly over their individual families.  But they do have a ton of young virgin girls who have never known anything else and who have been raised to expect to marry and do all the SAHM Superwife things for decades on end, often without any support or adult company outside of church meetings.  Can’t guarantee the large breasts, though.

While the subcultures in question are numerically small, there are more of them than there are unmarried men in the internet spheres above seeking that elusive double-D virgin Superwife.  So all those guys could be married to such a creature if they truly desired such a thing, there are still ample supplies, despite the recent scandals in some of the subcultures.

And yet, they aren’t.  Funny, that.

Pregnant Pause

I’ve dropped any schedule for this blog until further notice.  I like this blog, I think it’s profitable to post the things that I post, but I have limited energy and it’s better served for now doing more offline stuff as best I can.  So I may post now and again, or I may leave this thing idle for months or weeks at a time.  I may turn up to comment here and there, but mostly I’m just taking pressure off myself to fret, since I could fret for the gold medal if it were an Olympic event.

I continue to hope and pray that more conservatives become serious about normal living and undertake the painful and necessary steps to help make it more likely for their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren (yep, it might just take that long).  I also more importantly hope and pray that the Christian conservatives specially might put on the holy armor of Our Lord and be the best Christians grace grants them the strength and perseverance to be.  It is hard out there, we are being persecuted in America and the wider West.  But we must pray for those who are actually being martyred right now for Christ and not forget that we can still worship in public spaces and carry Bibles around freely.  We still have it and we can still use it.

It’s hard to remember sometimes that the bolder in Christ we are, the worse it will go for us with the secular world.  If we do excommunicate adulterers and don’t bake wedding cakes for multiple divorcees and refuse chemical and physical birth control except for the direst medical need, it will not be easier.  If we teach our children the Narrow Way, the True Word, public schools will not rejoice and cheer us on in the PTA.  If we hold fast to what is lovely, true and real, things will not be light and cheerful.  The secular world will not go “How amazing to see you live your values, it’s so wonderful you are living near each other, building communities of blood, Christ and love, working with and supporting each other in economic, spiritual and collective ways!”

They would instead start looking longingly at the countries that kill Christians.  But we could yet count it all joy, for it would be, then.

Real Talk for SAHMs: Children’s Cartoon recommendations

I’d like to start posting some more cheerful practical things and this serves as well as anything.  While it would be lovely to live in a magical fairyland where kids weren’t watching tv or DVDs or smartphones or tablets or laptops, most people, particularly the SAHMs so close to my heart, aren’t likely to be able to have tv-free households for many of their child-raising years.

These are the majority of the cartoons we are ok with our children seeing.  None of them is explicitly Christian, but mostly they do a good job of modelling healthy social orders, gender roles and legitimate authority.

Rolie Polie Olie: a basic family where the father isn’t useless or lacking in respect from wife and children, and where extended family is important.  The episodes we’ve seen show the father playfully engaging with his children without lapsing into treating them like little adults.  It’s a nice light little show for any age.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic– This show is really great.  It’s about healthy friendships and family connections, and about how much better it is to respect lawful authority rather than attempt to subvert it.  Unlike a lot of kid’s cartoons that show the younger heroes undermining or simply not respecting the adults, the teenaged (approximately) mares of MLP:FIM always are respectful to their elders, even the ones who have less magical ability than they do.  Twilight Sparkle, the leader of the group, is perhaps the most powerful individual in the imaginary world of Equestria.  But she treats the comparatively weak (in magic terms) Mayor of her little adopted hometown of Ponyville with the deference accorded to that position.  The show is full of such little details of proper behavior and well-ordered social norms.  It is truly, truly subversive conservative entertainment, particularly the first two seasons.  I know it’s subversive by the number of adults, liberal and conservative, who dismiss it as no different than the latest Disney dreck.  It’s quite different.  The songs are charming as well.  It’s pretty all ages as well.

There was a full-length animated film made that is connected to this series, Equestria Girls.  In that film the ponies are schoolgirls.  It is in plot and tone much in the spirit of the tv series, but unfortunately the outfits for the four main female characters are regrettable (the characters themselves seem almost embarrassed to be in them, frankly).  I only mention this because it is extremely likely to come up when looking for episodes of the show and there were many entirely justified complaints about the wardrobe when the film was originally released.

Avatar: The Last Airbender (cartoon series, not the live-action movie):  This is also a very good children’s cartoon portraying hierarchy and lawful authority.  There are one or two extremely subtle mature moments, but my husband viewed the whole series and could only find them by checking on the TV Tropes website.  They are moments, about 1-2 seconds across the entire series.  Mostly it is a program for younger kids that are about to become pre-teens.  It has good portrayals of friendship and navigating mixed-gender social situations.  Bonus: the good girl doesn’t pursue the bad boy, but through a natural, organic relational progression comes to end up with the good guy.  This show is very good at showing how 10-15 year olds would actually conduct themselves if they also had powers to manipulate the elements of earth magically.  The show really manages to dig into the complexity of possessing great and deadly power without going way over the heads of young children.  It’s not really for kids under 5-6 consistently, it really is more for the 7-10 age range, up to teenagers.  There is a sequel series for teenagers, but it isn’t as good and I don’t really recommend it.

Thomas and Friends:  This is colloquially known as Thomas the Train or Thomas the Tank Engine.  It has had several different incarnations through the years, but it is also wholesomely oriented and is based on a series of children’s books written by a devout Anglican clergyman and his son.  So, not explicitly Christian, but the source material was written by devout Christians and hasn’t in broadcast form shown itself to really be full of anti-authority and anti-hierarchy themes.  It is very much for small (mostly male) children, but charmingly animated.

There’s nothing wrong with explicitly Christian cartoons, but we haven’t pursued that and it was a nice surprise to find anything in the normal run of children’s cartoons that we were comfortable with.  These are ok.  They are moral and represent consistent, coherent social and moral systems.

Why voter restrictions are very civic minded and not racist or sexist

Voting is only really important at local levels and limiting the vote means that communities are much more able to do for self.

The problem is the type of restrictions, not that they exist.

Formerly, in America and in the nations much of its early colonists hailed from, restrictions based on male ownership of land were thought to serve as a suitable proxy for having a proper attachment and stake in the local community, and thus voting rights were granted to (mostly) male landowners.  This is an understandable argument in an era where mobility was not a widespread or feasible norm for most people.

However, America rapidly became a land where “homeowners” might hop, skip and flit about the country as often as mayflies and where renters might be well-settled and enmeshed with a local town or city for decades.  There was also the issue of absentee landlords exerting undue influence with votes on communities they never set foot in.  Land and house ownership alone were not necessarily, then, as suitable criteria as they might first appear for voting restriction.

Voting should be limited to people who contribute to their local communities as good neighbors and orderly families of stable history and respectable behavior.  This would in practice result in some interesting demographic changes to the voting population, not least of which would be a reduction down to perhaps 5% of all current voters (who number no more than 50% or so of all eligible voters, with a nearly unlimited voting right for people over the age of 18).  It would also mean urban centers full of highly mobile individuals wouldn’t exert undue influence at local levels on institutions they weren’t going to stick around long enough to participate in or maintain.

One might note that I am not arguing that women should just be flatly denied the vote.  That is because women who held property (typically widows and savvy single women or single heiresses) were often able to vote because it was the ownership and head of household status that was more relevant than the sex of the property holder.  Under a voting regime that restricts the vote based on residency, neighborly contributions and general continence of behavior, there would be very few voters of either sex.  And that would be just fine.  It would mean that votes mattered in the administration of local communities.  It would be practical subsidiarity.  People would be able to claw back or reinstate their presently lost institutions.

When nearly anyone can vote, it is meaningless and a way to divert people from effective collective action.  It keeps them powerless by dangling an illusion of civic action in front of them to distract them from real political and social efforts to require accountability from their rulers and administrators.  When only people who want to be in their local community as demonstrated by their actions and behavior can vote, politicians and the bureaucrats they appoint face real accountability and have a smaller ability to be co-opted by powerful people outside the community.  It also, conveniently, grants enough offsetting power to local, stable residents without great wealth or connections to avoid the “one powerful family dominates this city/county/town” problem.

The vote must have power to be an effective tool for common people.  And that can only be achieved through limiting its access to those with something major to lose in the places where they live, work and raise children.  Nothing racist or sexist about that, it would in fact benefit many women and ethnic minorities who currently see their votes washed away by crowds of itinerants voting blindly and disastrously on local politics they will never suffer the consequences of.  It’s racist and sexist to have the diluted, politically ineffective voting system we currently have in place right now.

An honest libertarian history of America

While not a large percentage of conservatives, the libertarian subset is nevertheless quite influential in shaping general patterns of conservative thought even when it does not seem to be powerful politically.  And while what follows oversimplifies dramatically, it is accurate in its essentials as a lens through which to view American history from an honest libertarian perspective.

If you take the libertarian focus on contract law as the sole arbiter of government rule, then it becomes very easy to categorize American history as the evolution away from even the pretense at honoring contracts.

The first century of America (1776-1876) can be seen as an era in which contracts were routinely violated, but during which residual senses of honor and noblesse oblige led the men violating these contracts to occasionally feel bad about doing so.  Their justifications thus attempted to be rigorous and ground themselves in the notion that they were enforcing other, higher-level contracts.  But they were justifications after all.

The second century of America (1876-1976) can be seen as the gradual loss of the fig leaves of high-flown justification.  Instead, there was a steady move towards continuing to rampantly violate contracts, while justifying the violations themselves as valid.  There was less and less sense that the rule of law governing those contracts needed to be taken seriously even when disregarded.  Needless to say, that brings us to the present day.

The current century of America (1976-2014) is unlikely to be an entire century, as at this point there is no concern for the rule of law as being important enough to justify violations of it in specific instances.  The idea of contracts as valid is dead and the idea that you’d need some fig leaves is thoroughly comical to the current governing figures.  There is no longer any pretense.  The behavior is similar, but the idea that it wasn’t necessarily right or proper to do it is missing.

This is, needless to say, not the contract-lens through which your average libertarian views American history.  They tend to distill it down into heavenly anarcho-topia of pure contract-honoring awesomeness before 1916 (income tax introduction) and nightmare of socialism and overregulation afterwards, particularly starting with the New Deal a generation after the income tax.  Some don’t know about the income tax introduction and move the time of glorious contract-bliss forward to right before the New Deal.

This is one of many reasons I am no longer libertarian.  Reading primary sources of American history, especially before 1900, rinses a lot of that gunk out of your brainpan in a hurry.  The reality is that even if you distill libertarian views down to contracts uber alles, American history is not a history of a nation that was awesome at honoring contracts to the extent often claimed.

This does not mean that there was no honor or just dealing, it simply means that the honor came paired with plenty of dishonorable action, sometimes from the same people during the same time period.


Double Consciousness for SAHMs

Double consciousness, it’s not just a black thing!  It is a classic housewife problem, coming from servant classes but marrying well enough to afford servants yourself and not knowing what to do with them.  Chalk it up to another way to feel bad and a failure as a woman.

I think it doesn’t get enough real discussion among conservatives, because they are very wedded to the classless America myth.  But one of the conflicts with the idea of a “traditional America” is that America was peopled by folks who rejected proper authority and their proper place in existing hierarchies.  It was peopled by servant classes and third sons of gentry, people who would have been very low on their relative totem poles in the home countries.  Combined with the low population density and the love of technology, there’s always been a big conflict in “traditional America” over whether to have servants at all.  This was an added layer to slavery debates, incidentally.

Among the white ethnic groups who came over with strong traditions of sharing the labor out instead of having servants, Americans forgot or ignored that those ethnic groups relied on massive shaming and social pressure to spread the work around.

And so by the time we get to the modern era, the white-ethnic traditions that provided voluntary, unpaid support for housewives are nearly extinct and other forms of support are unavailable due to a mix of factors, including tolerance of disordered and sociopathic personalities in housewife-heavy subcultures.

This is incidentally why so many white American people are quick to claim they and their ancestors didn’t own slaves or benefit from slavery.  It’s a way to forget that lots and lots and lots of white people really really really wanted to have the wealth and subject labor that slaves represented.  There wouldn’t have been an entire industry peopled by those servantless whites around kidnapping free black people and claiming they were slaves with “missing papers” if slave labor was such a horrible financial drain to have and keep going *for the people who had slaves*. Having serfs is particularly nice if you don’t have to worry about your children dropping that far down the ladder because the serfs are an entirely different race.

Likewise, a small but influential number of women dismiss the idea of servants or household help as important, needful or useful because they are disordered and the wacky individualist strain in American culture provides cover for their madness, at the expense of having to deal with the fact that you just might not be “middle class” in origins or background and narrowly missed being the maid or nanny or housekeeper yourself.  It also is why there is such a belief, most particularly among conservatives, that the private household administered by a housewife is utterly essential but that household help is utterly improper as a social expectation for housewives.  Without that deranged, Randian individualism, conservatives could not gaslight women into believing that they must carry the full burden of maintaining a household with nothing more than a prayer book, a vacuum cleaner and a dishwasher.

There’s also the dismissal of the idea that life in domestic service could be a career with advancement and wealth-building opportunities.  This was even the case to a surprising extent (as in, it happened at all) in American chattel slavery.  If simply being a servant is the worst possible thing that could happen to someone, then having servants cannot be a moral or worthwhile thing.  This is an ongoing theme in American culture, that class and status conflict playing out decade after decade. But yeah.  Black Americans aren’t the only ones who’ve had to struggle with double consciousness as an artifact of their place in society.

Why the working poor don’t just save up for a car while eating beans and rice

Conservatives are notorious, and rightly so, for generally dismissing the working poor as “low time-preference” or “unwilling to do what it takes to get out of poverty”.  This comes in the form of ridiculous statements very similar to the title of this post.  

The working poor can’t save up enough for a reliable car while taking very unreliable public transit, which is all that’s available in most parts of America.  A reliable car, in my experience in both high and low COL areas, costs about $2500 in cash.  That is the lowest reasonable amount to guarantee a low maintenance, sub 100k mile car that is reliable for someone with little mechanical knack.  Most working poor can save about $200 per month on paychecks from two part-time jobs totalling $1500-2000 per month.  This means it would take about a year to save up enough to get that reliable car.

Problem is, I just noted the public transit they have to use to get to work isn’t reliable.  So what happens is that many working poor hold multiple jobs concurrently, constantly swapping in a new part-time job to replace the one they lost not due to “bad attitude” or any of the other loving, Christian terms conservatives throw around, but due to being late one too many times when public transit is flaky.  They mostly can’t get full-time jobs for this reason, and part-time jobs vary in tolerating the episodic lateness of public transit, often kicking the worker to the curb after a few months.  Well, if you can’t even reliably make that $1500-2000 a month because you’re always hustling for a new second or third job, you can’t save the $200/month consistently either.

Further, because of the commute logistics, it’s very difficult to even manage crockpot cooking with the scheduling flux and transportation instability.  So the working poor eat a lot of quick food even when they have cooking skills because it’s safer and more consistent.

Conservatives should spend more time thinking through the situations people are actually in when making bootstrap arguments.  No, every working poor person is not some brave single mother of three working nine jobs.  But many are single adults working two or three jobs as often as they can take a bus to them and struggling to have more than a few hundred dollars put by because without saner transit solutions, it’s extremely difficult to get to a financial level that permits them to purchase a reliable enough car to get more stable part-time or be eligible for full-time jobs with better prospects.  And no, it’s not easier to lug 100 pounds of beans and rice home and crockpot them up.  That is a favorite of conservatives, the imaginary poor person who easily can carry a 50lb sack of beans and a 50lb sack of rice home via public transit.

A great many conservatives have a veil of sweet amnesia over the frankly better circumstances they had if they were once working poor and this leads them to create all sorts of bizarre and mean motives for the working poor remaining so when the reality is often quite ordinary.  Reality is biased, just not in a conservative or liberal direction.