Chesterton’s wife had nurserymaids and other domestic help

Mr. Price over at the Spearhead discovers some wise words of Chesterton’s regarding how women turn being at the job into a sad caricature of the domestic sphere, but Price misses the servant-shaped elephant in the room.  

Chesterton is a great favorite of internet conservatives, particularly (though not in this case) internet traditional distributist-loving Catholics.  But the man didn’t go live the agrarian distributist fantasy he spoke so eloquently about, and his wife certainly didn’t tenderly raise their passel of lovely children by herself.

This doesn’t mean Chesterton wasn’t brilliant and amazing, but it does call into question why people like to refer to old anti-feminist writings written by men whose wives had full domestic staffs (and less often, women who relied on having staff to have leisure to write for hours at all) when that would tell you something fairly important about what conditions are necessary to restore or reinvigorate middle class domesticity.



How Black women’s empowerment (BWE) is like homeschooling

Both are ok individual solutions for individuals and individual families, but cannot effectively scale up at all and thus remain incomplete solutions.

Black women’s empowerment at its most simplified consists of American black women removing their financial, social and psychological support from dysfunctional American black communities, institutions and people in favor of giving that support to more functional groups and individuals that support them as individual black women.  For an individual black woman, loving and being loved, supporting and being supported in healthier, more functional ways in work, life, community and love is completely viable as a strategy.  But it doesn’t scale.

Likewise, homeschooling is great for individual families who have the resources to make it work for their children.  Having the resources can mean many different things, but in practice it often means having girls and/or wide spacing between older and younger children, along with support from relatives and community.  Again, this doesn’t scale either, especially since it’s a norm among homeschool leading lights to downplay the extent of the support infrastructure they rely on when selling the homeschool dream to poorer conservatives with little or no support.

But despite the key differences (BWE is very practical and narrow in focus, designed around providing useful suggestions for American-born black women to make healthier life choices, while homeschooling is kind of thrown out as a conservative cure-all for the epic loss of major institutions and near-total erasure of the private household and domestic sphere), both movements are good for individuals who want to go those routes and terrible as larger-scale solutions for the given communities.

Why conservatives are losing and will continue to lose.

It’s the liberalism.  Liberalism is like inflation.  Everyone wants a little bit, but nobody wants the full hyperinflation enchilada.  Same with liberalism.  Everyone wants a little bit of liberalism, but nobody wants the full hard-left ultraliberal9000 enchilada.

A great example is conservative Christians regarding marriage and courtship.  You can find places where they talk a good game about wanting “real courtship” back, but when it comes down to having to listen to input of parents, grandparents, pastors, and other close family friends, suddenly anything the traditional gatekeepers of female virtue say is “liberal brainwashing” if it involves rejecting a Christian guy who wants to deflower  marry their daughter because she is very young and very pretty and very virginal and he’s known her six whole weeks.

What these “pro-courtship” Christians really want is a little bit of liberalism, enough that a man gets to just have whatever kind of bride he feels he deserves, but not so much that girls have lots of chances to stop being virgins before 21.  The family should regulate and protect her virtue, but not reject any horny guy who sets his cap at her as a result of their care and concern for her.

I could use no-fault divorce, or thirty year self-amortizing mortgages, or widespread nuclear family mobility, or more esoteric examples of liberalism like representative democracy.  But the story is always the same in (American) conservativeland–they talk about wanting traditional living and traditional social mores restored, but not at the expense of their little preferred slice of liberalism.  And since there is plenty of liberalism to go around, conservatives can’t win unless they do what they have never been willing to do en masse–stop playing the game and seriously weigh the costs and benefits of returning to traditional practices and mores.

It’s demoralizing, but it’s also true.

Regulations on cottage industries are anti-woman, and especially anti-mother

Male dominated cottage industries almost never have their regulations enforced. Enforcement only comes down on female-dominated cottage industries, which are further dominated by mothers trying to earn extra money without having to spend all day outside the home.

Take a little time and think about if you can ever recall an article about shade-tree mechanics being aggressively targeted and pushed out of business.  One can’t even find much in the way of such mechanics being harassed by HOA boards either.

But hair braiding, homemade foods, in-house sewing, and other small-scale cottage activities are routinely regulated and prosecuted with a strictness that is astonishing not least because it has nothing to do with safety, health or even tax revenue.

It does have more than a little to do with women who don’t like being in their homes wanting to keep other women from doing so. It also has more than a little to do with denying women any opportunity to be economically productive at home in an explicit way.

This even extends to the massive grey and black market of women providing under-market wage childcare and daycare, where the regulatory environment and political pressure is all arranged to promote center-based daycare as the only childcare option.  Of course that is some posts by itself, definitely.

The housewife doesn’t have to be a consumption good.  We could have domestic economy in a post-industrial society.

Comment policy change

It’s posted on one of the permanent pages, but people never read those on any blog, so I’m posting it here, where it will take a while to drift down the list.

Comments are open.  I turned off moderation for the rest of the calendar year because I basically find it tiring to make a decision about each comment.  I don’t have the energy for extended back and forth like I was hoping I might, so better to make posts when I have some writing energy and people can have their own back and forth if they want instead of waiting days or weeks for me to sit down and decide what to do with my five or eight or sixteen comments that have piled up.

The basic posting requirement is using a name and email, I think that’s how I’ve set it up.  If being logged in to wordpress/etc overrides that, maybe I’ll tweak it, but I also may not get around to that.  I also don’t want profanity or blasphemy, but admit I am not likely to read or respond to comments going forward for days or weeks.  So I am expecting the commenters I normally get to do as they’ve always done and any new commenters that might turn up to also follow that model.

So maybe this will give me more energy to empty out my very large draft queue.

Real Talk for SAHMs: When maternal instinct leads to poor maternal health

This is just to say that SAHMs lose sleep because it’s hard to get to sleep at night when you expect the wakeups and in fact they come for years on end.  Then there’s the food issue.  Yes, there is joking around about eating the crumbs the toddlers leave you, but it can lead to either overeating to compensate for the sleep deprivation or slow starvation (and corresponding increasing exhaustion) as appetite shuts down in response to stress.

So people hear about SAHMs being up at 3am doing laundry and think they are silly and frivolous and making up reasons to make it all seem harder than it is, but they aren’t thinking about the four wakeups the SAHM already had to deal with since attempting her own bedtime at 9pm after the kids were down between 7pm and 8pm.  If you can’t even hope to get any sleep and everyone around is convinced you never need a helping hand because you’re home all day and what on earth is there to do, really, then yeah, you just might go ahead and save the laundry for at night since you have to get up every other hour to nurse anyway, or quell a nightmare, or get a water sippy for a toddler’s dry throat and hacking cough.

Then there’s the putting off of medical and dental care because the prospect of trying to deal with the entire process with a bunch of little kids underfoot is too overwhelming to even think about.  It used to be obvious as recently as the 1980s that trying to leave the house with many small children was just not something a woman could do on her own, but it’s now a bizarre expectation towards SAHMs specifically.

Basically, a lot of women are in really bad shape mentally, physically and spiritually, and it’s because they are just trying to follow their natural maternal instincts in an environment set up to work against that in poisonous and damaging ways.  They just need a break.

Why liberals want a high minimum wage.

They want lower class people to never have more than that.

To expand a bit, liberals desire a scenario where people with the wrong level of credentials make $15-20/hr and people with the right level of credentials make 100k or more.  Doctors can make six figures in a liberal’s world, but only if the pediatrician makes the same 300k as the surgeon.  And plumbers should never be able to make 100k, or house cleaners, or other blue collar work that doesn’t necessarily benefit from unions.

And liberals hate the idea of merit raises or raises based on experience (except in a union seniority context), so they want to lock in lower class people at a rate that will be both their ceiling and their floor (with only adjustments for inflation).  The liberals who dutifully promote “living wages” are the ones who’ll be holding the bag as jobs converge into those two massively income-unequal tiers based on acquisition of college degrees (even ultimately including what unionized labor remains).

Everyone should always just be paid “enough” for working, so no decisions have to be made about who worked harder, smarter or better to warrant additional pay.  I didn’t really get it until I noticed how liberals promoting ridiculous minimum wages never talked about how people could get raises and promotions and move up in the ranks under that new system.  And it’s because the people getting that $15/hr minimum wage aren’t supposed to ever have more, do more or be more.  And the surgeon should just want to do the extra training for the same pay as a pediatrician just because.

And of course, people with a BA should always make more than high school graduates with some hustle.

ETA, some background on why I wrote this post that I thought I had put into the comments below but didn’t: My experience locally especially, but even on the internets too, with most liberal-type people who want the high minimum wage is what I wrote. They don’t think you have to worry about raises and stuff if you just make it high enough (“living” enough) to begin with.

I live in liberalland where they nickel and dime the daycare and nannies they have but “support” “living wages” for “employees of big businesses”.

When I lived in an upscale suburb, they didn’t want to pay for when the kid(s) were napping, even though the hourly wage they might offer was high, 15+ typically (I heard this both from women looking for nanny/sitter work interviewing with me *and* the nickel-and-diming women who hired them). I offered a little less but I didn’t nickel and dime and would pay for days we didn’t need them but which were part of the schedule. It was still hard to find someone because people can’t do math.