An example of where the Bureaucrat Wiki would sure come in handy (graphic content warning in link)

Someone who took the time to find out which employees are doing these things (they are listed in a search-only directory, it would require Nerd Power to do online-only, some phone calls to the Denver EPA office otherwise) would be doing a pretty impressive job of setting up a means to demand accountability from government employees who think they can literally do whatever the poop they want.  That link is pretty gross, because the people involved are doing appalling scatological things in their workplace.

Just posting all the EPA employees by working through the search-only directory with contact phone numbers would be a powerful and useful act.  Better than pointing and laughing followed by laments that “these people can’t be fired.”

I talk about the Bureaucrat Wiki as an idea in its own permanent page.


Cool Dutch Housewife’s Blog

Maybe she’s not Dutch, but I’m just going off the language used for “Leave comments” and “Tuesday, September 15” and such.  In any case, her blog is really pretty neat and has all kinds of fascinating viewpoints.  It leaves me very optimistic to know that things aren’t quite so mad as they are for (particularly Christian and conservative) homemakers in America.

A good intro to some of her commentary on homemaking and general housewiving:

Her other tags are also worth checking out.  She covers some of the same topics regarding housewives that I do, but in a less…emotionally driven fashion.  Probably because her cultural milieu is quite different than how it is in America for the majority of housewives.

Anyway she is well worth reading because it is different outside America, very different and having more ordered perspectives on the whole topic of housewiving is always good.  I don’t remember how I found her blog, but it’s on the old blogroll now.

Having 10 or more kids is fertility depressing, not enhancing.

What a lot of conservative men have massive cluelessness about is how having babies impacts women and can actually inhibit fertility multigenerationally.  Ok, so you wanna outbreed those dastardly liberals.  The way to do that is not by having wives produce a dozen kids.  They aren’t really cheaper by the dozen.

Once you’re in double digits for sure and generally speaking at some point after about 6-7 kids, a large family inhibits fertility.  With that many kids, there’s free riding (“Oh, some of my numerous siblings will provide grandkids, no worry, no hurry”), and there’s childcare burnout because as the Duggars usefully show, there’s no way Mom can be pregnant near-constantly and also take care of all the kids.  It generally falls to older female siblings once they are aged 9-10 or so, who unsurprisingly tend to be disinclined to rush into motherhood, or even pursue it at all.

There’s also the two or three family problem, where because of the inevitable wide gaps that open up between the oldest and the youngest, you just might get the household segmenting itself into little sub-units where some of the siblings take on mother/father roles because they are 15 years older than the littlest kids.  That also inhibits fertility, by simulating the parent/child relationship in what is not necessarily a healthy way and which delays family formation.

The takeaway is that you can look with your eyes at the generational spread with such families.  Parents have 12 kids, who typically have 15-30 grandkids between them, a huge drop in fertility.  And since those grandkids grew up in families much much smaller than what their parents had, that inhibits their own baby-having even though they know they have a zillion aunts and uncles.  At the low end of that range, several of the 12 didn’t even reproduce, further dinging the overall robustness of the family tree.

That’s how it tends to play out in reality-land, as opposed to daydreamland when conservative men propose that the solution to have normal life return is just for conservative families to pop em out like pez.

If one is really set on robust reproduction, the approach that gets you multiple generations of 3+ kids per mother is to arrange your society so that people expect to see 4-6 kids as a “typical family”.  Some families will be smaller and a few will be much larger, but that range of kids is manageable. If the couple wants to “get it out of the way” and have them closely spaced, that’s an option.  If they want to follow a more natural spacing and rest up between each kid, that’s an option.  It’s not so many kids that daughters grow up seeing a constantly tired, constantly pregnant woman who keeps giving them more and more work to do.  It’s not so many kids that sons are really worried about how on earth they could possibly support so many babies.

But it’s not so few kids that people stop getting used to seeing children in the public sphere.  It’s not so few kids that helicopter parenting is high-status, nor so many kids that nobody expects much in the way of fathering or mothering to happen.

And in practice the result is that parents have 4-5 kids who have 4-5 kids, who…have 4-5 kids.  The occasional kid doesn’t reproduce for whatever reasons, but overall 3 or 4 of every five do, and typically by having about as many as their parents did.  This is much more robust and builds a strong community of kinship and openness to children as part of normal life in general.  The divides between parents and non-parents don’t have the same kind of space to open up and make it difficult to keep kids in the public sphere.

Yes, this is a Mormon approach, and where they’ve bought fully into the birth control mentality, it’s stopped working. But it’s also the approach for a lot of societies, including a fair amount of America during the early and middle 20th century when America was more regional.

Caveat: this post assumes that when (male) people promote having quite a bit more than two kids that they are sincerely clueless about how exhausting the raising and bearing of kids is and that they would welcome a society where motherhood was taken seriously and supported as a vocation and real lifework.  It is not a post that assumes these people actually want the way worse than purdah system their blithe advocacy ends up producing in practice.  It assumes good intentions, which may well be overly generous on my part, but there you are.

ETA, 8/20/14: Nick B Steves is baffled that I don’t agree with the neoreactionary consensus and irritated that I don’t argue like a man.

The sharing economy is about replicating the ghetto economy but with higher status

It’s a way for SWPLs to copy the ecology of urban poor blacks with their complex networks of favors that make it very hard to get up and out (i.e. leave the ghetto and achieve the markers of whitish middle class consumption-based success) without losing their precious status points that are what they trade in preferentially to icky, icky money.

It’s also about creeping proletarianization, in which the destruction of capital and franklin-level business ownership by regulation and cronyism are glossed over by “barter economies” and “sharing systems” that are supposed to make up for the reduced resource access and economic decline.

When Christians step on SAHMs to impress the world

This the flipside of my fiskpost.  The Christians in question (at least people identifying as such) are people making posts and blogs around Calvinistic and evangelical parts of the internet about leaving a particular “misogynist” and “abusive” megachurch.  I can’t fisk any of the numerous examples because it would just make me cry too hard to type. This is instead a cri de coeur.

You see, the common thread is not claims of abusive authority or poor treatment of women in the church–the common thread with all too many of these people is despising SAHMs as “not being all God wants them to be”.

They have a consistent pattern of complaining about pressure in said megachurch for women to SAHM. They even go on to notice that actual SAHMs in the church are tired/brittle/stressed/overwhelmed.  But do they, I dunno, HELP OUT?  Do they even {insert unladylike epithets here} think about organizing some structured, consistent respite system for those SAHMs?

Nah, they just left all those dumb broads hanging in the breeze because those women were too stupid and brainwashed to see that they really needed to be out doing endless missions work while their kids (oh wait, they weren’t supposed to have the kids, they get in the way of BEING ANYWHERE GOD WANTS YOU TO BE AS LONG AS IT IS NEVER EVER EVER YOUR OWN HOUSE) were presumably in school or daycare or imaginary. Or presumably those women would somehow not be as stressed and tired if they’d just go get three or four degrees and a “career”.

These people leaving the church in several cases aren’t attending any church, not even a liberal church.  They’ve cut off contact themselves from the church folk they used to know.  And the whole time they were in said megachurch, they saw this vale of suffering and their response was anything but supporting the women who liked staying home and wanted to do the best they could at it.  They found all kinds of ministries and little fiefdoms of power within the church hierarchy to chase or gain access to, but mysteriously not anything that involved serious, concentrated efforts towards providing womanly support for the (mostly young and isolated) SAHMs in the church.  Even among the women who claimed to be oppressed by idolization of SAHMs, none of them valued the domestic life for itself.  They had nothing positive to say about women who really wanted to do that.

This side of American Christianity is “triggering” and threatening to me on a deep personal level in ways that the standard American pioneer-wife SAHM narrative simply isn’t.  It may be misguided and dangerous, but it at least is connected to the idea that women might like their homes, their families and being with their families in said homes.  The flipside, the people who see the damaged SAHMs and don’t respond in love, but only with disgust and sneering, that’s so much worse.  It’s terrible and cruel far beyond any pioneer wife going it alone stuff because it essentially claims that something is wrong with a woman for wanting to be at home at all.

And the really crazy making part is that these people think it’s holier for married American women to go on missions…to countries where most of the women stay home and hang out with other women.  Or to have social work jobs securing housing and welfare benefits for…women from cultures where it’s normal to stay home with little kids.  Or to pursue “ministry”, because we get such great results for the church catholic when men mindlessly pursue power in the church at any cost, why not have women do that too.

I don’t mention this misery as often precisely because it’s a klaxon-level tell that the Christian in question is mostly interested in assuring the secular world that they aren’t the wrong kind of Christian (conservatively oriented), why they hate women staying home just as much as anyone sensible would!  They know that women with BRAINS and MOXIE can’t be trapped in domestic prisons.

You know, whatever.  I can’t even go on in this tone.  It’s just so pervasive out in the world.  This cheap horrible way to gain status by stepping on other women and they even think they are advocating a holier (than thou) position by declaring the SAHM life a pathetic, unChristian choice only suitable for brainwashed axlotl tanks.

Maybe they did have bad experiences with church authority in other regards, but it’s pretty hard to cough up my share of Christian sympathy when their biggest problem isn’t with the bad bad men in charge, but the comparatively powerless housewives who are fool enough to like being housewives.  How loving, how pro-woman, how liberated in theology there.  And while this particular time, this particular space it’s a megachurch, the lobbing balls of phlegm at SAHMs is a consistent part of the “I’m leaving a conservative cult of personality abusive leadership church” narrative regardless of the size of the church or the specific types of abuse claims.

Anyhow, you get the general drift and I do too, so I’ll end here to avoid crying anyway.

How conservatives could attract black people politically

Ha, you thought I was going to have something here!

This sat in draft for a long time with some realio trulio suggestions in it, but we are talking about conservatives.  Politically they can’t even attract each other, how on earth could they get it together to attract black people.

Probably could use a break after my lengthy fisk adventure, so here you are!


Lindsay’s unhistorical logic, or fisking some typical conservative dismissals of the domestic sphere

Fisking is a fine old internet tradition and this is a pretty good example of the kind of conservative polemic that actually dismisses the domestic sphere it claims to promote. So the post (most of it) follows below, with my interpolations to the post and a few remarks on the comments.

The Vital Importance of a Wife and Mother at Home

 *snipped intro*
We live in a culture that sees us primarily as individuals who simply make associations with each other. Marriage is generally seen as just a partnership between two separate people. The Christian view of marriage, however, is radically different. The Bible says that the two become one. Not two that have a connection, but one. God doesn’t give separate overall missions to each individual person. There is only one overall calling for that one marriage entity. A husband and wife are a family and have a calling together, but the husband bears the primary responsibility for fulfilling that mission while the wife bears the primary responsibility for supporting her husband’s work toward the family’s calling.
This is not really where the danger lies.  Wives supporting husbands is fine.
That is what it means, for example, that the husband is the spiritual head or leader of the family. A husband will answer to God for the spiritual health of his family in a way that the wife will not because it is the man’s primary responsibility. His calling, above all, is to lead his family to know and serve God. Other parts of his mission may involve outreach beyond his family such as missions work, serving in the church, witnessing to coworkers, etc., but his primary responsibility before God is to lead his own family and ensure their spiritual health. A wife’s primary responsibility in this area is to support her husband’s leadership to ensure that chaos does not derail their family’s spiritual journey and that her husband has the time and energy to devote to spiritual leadership because he isn’t distracted by other minor concerns.
This is getting a little patriocentric, but we haven’t quite gotten to the core derailing tactic yet. Lindsay sounds like she’s starting to talk about delegation of properly ordered authority.  Let’s see if that’s the case.
The story comes to mind of Acts 6 and the choosing of deacons to take care of details like feeding the needy so that the apostles could concentrate on preaching and teaching. This kind of hierarchy is found throughout life, not just in marriage. It’s not about inferiority, it’s about efficiency in fulfilling a purpose. It was the deacons’ role to handle logistics so that the apostles could spend their time pursuing the main mission of preaching the word and saving souls. In the same way, it is a wife’s role to handle logistics of the home so that her husband can concentrate his energy on pursuing the family’s main mission for God.
This sounds like properly ordered delegation…. BUT!
The other thing to consider is that the responsibility for providing for the family is given primarily to the man. It simply isn’t the wife’s responsibility in the same way it is for the husband. Not only are men given the responsibility of spiritual leadership, but they also must provide for their family’s economic needs. In both cases, men will answer to God for how they do so. Providing is a heavy burden given to a man. It requires much time and effort. It is a great support to the husband when the wife takes care of the logistical details of the household so that the husband can devote his efforts to providing and the spiritual training of the children and then, if energy is left, to outside endeavors to further the Kingdom of God.

Now, can a woman handle the logistics of the home, ensure her family is cared for, and still work outside the home? Perhaps, in some cases – especially if they do not yet have children. But no woman is Superwoman. We all have limitations. It’s just not possible for any woman to adequately care for children and home while holding down a full time job. The care of children and the home is primarily a woman’s responsibility in a way it isn’t for her husband. If there are no children, it may be possible for her to care for the home and her husband and still keep a job outside the home, but she must keep the home and her husband as her priority.

Once children arrive, it becomes pretty much impossible for her to work outside the home and still fulfill her duties at home. The funny thing about children is that they need constant care. One cannot care for children and work outside the home too. The choice once children come along is whether to outsource the care of the children to someone else or to do it yourself. I firmly believe that God entrusts children to a husband and wife because he wants them to be the primary influences in their children’s lives. That doesn’t happen if the children spend a majority of their waking hours in the care of someone else.

Children don’t just need food and shelter provided to them, they need love, teaching, discipline, a sense of security, and examples of how they are to live. All of those things are best done when the child spends time primarily with his or her parents. Daycare workers, school teachers, and even grandparents simply cannot provide them in the same way parents can. No one loves a child like his own parents do. No one has such a vested interest in ensuring that he grows up with the proper spiritual and moral training. Even if others care about the child, the responsibility for the training of a child belongs to his parents. Daycare workers and teachers and grandparents won’t answer to God for the soul of that child. His parents will.

There it is.  Three paragraphs of false dichotomy in which the only economic activity possible must occur outside the home in a full time capacity.  Further, Lindsay also ignores the extensive history of the domestic sphere not being carried on the backs of individual housewives at all, but upon mistresses and delegation to their servants or shared labor among the women of the village/town/neighborhood.  She’s also presenting a fundamentally anti-patriarchal view of the housewife by dismissing the loving community relationships that children gain access to in traditional Christian patriarchal societies. In this following paragraph, she continues with the straw-housewife portrayal.
So, given the needs of children, I am convinced that women are called to be with their children, training and caring for them as their primary caregiver. Does that mean a mother can’t have any job outside the home? In theory, no. In practice, yes. A woman’s priority must be her own family. If she can have her children with her or leave them for only a short time each day, she may still be able to provide the necessary training and care they need from their mother and earn some income. But in doing that, she needs to be sure she is not neglecting her husband’s needs either. Theoretically, a woman can have it all – keeping a job and caring for her family too. The problem is that it is a very rare woman who has the energy to keep up with the constant needs of her children for care, training, discipline, and love and those of her husband for companionship, sex, and a partner in life as well as the logistics of running a household and still have something left for even a part-time job.

What usually happens when a woman has an outside job is that her family simply suffers the lack. Either her children spend a lot of time with other caregivers or teachers or her husband does without the companionship and marital intimacy he needs or some of the household chores descend on the husband, taking away some of his time and energy to train his children spiritually and impact the world for Christ. Often it’s a combination of these. A woman simply cannot meet all the needs of her family when she is spread that thin and, as a result, something important gets left undone.

A tired, worn down woman doing all the childcare and (somehow) all the household chores like cooking and cleaning also cannot meet all the needs of her family when she’s spread so thin.  The idea that just being home all day with no breaks from the needs of the children while still being expected to produce a Better Homes and Gardens style domestic haven is even possible for a solitary housewife with no paid or unpaid help should reveal itself to be obviously impossible.  Yet here Lindsay is, dutifully pushing this classic conservative trope of housewiving.  And she follows it up with more doubling down on the false choice of “work full time outside the home and GOD WILL HATE YOU AND YOUR BABIES” or “work yourself into exhaustion and early physical breakdown FOR THE KINGDOM GURLFREND”.
Of course, there are circumstances where it is necessary for a family’s survival for the wife to work outside the home. That is not the ideal, but it sometimes happens. In that case, the goal should be to do whatever is necessary to make it a temporary situation so that the wife can return to the home and children and be available to meet her husband’s need as well. If that means downgrading the house, foregoing vacations, having the husband take a second job or a better paying job, having the wife work from home, or whatever, the goal should be to work towards having the wife available to fulfill her responsibilities at home. It is vital to the health of her family – both physically and spiritually. There is no replacement for a wife and mother. The family will never be as effective for the Kingdom of God as it could be if the wife is not at home, taking care of her family.

I and a few others responded in the comments, one brave lady named “Mrs. Lamp” attempted to confront the silliness and was met (as was I in my own comment along those lines) with doubling down or a redefinition of history to fit the narrative that mom as primary caregiver is the One Way to Love Jesus if you have kids.  I am so, so tired of this craziness.  It is craziness, you see.

No, mamma is not always going to be the sole caregiver, or even primary one, and that’s not unholy or unBiblical or even untraditional or unpatriarchal.  A good case could be made that the real problem is pressuring women to forego the fellowship and support of other women to carry a heavy burden alone and tying that to Heavenly salvation.

It’s also possible for housewives to be economically productive in the home or on a part-time basis outside the home.  There is a whole range of possibilities, even post-industrially.

The token mansplaining from “Conan the Cimmerian” in the comments is only worth mentioning for how ridiculous and silly it is, effectively nonsensical but so, so usual and standard among a certain kind of conservative man.

The reason I fisked this at all is not because it’s unique or unusual, but because it’s pretty standard-issue.  Way too many conservatives love this black and white view of the wife’s role in marriage.  They love this unhistorical, unreal, unhealthy, not doctrinally sound idea of a housewife as a sort of Platonic being of pure love with no real physical, spiritual or emotional needs or reality.  They love her being a consumption good in herself rather than a potential economic contributor to the household coffers (unless, in a post I really will someday finish, she does Amway or some other similar scam/exploitation).

It’s so poisonous and terrible, especially the Christian variation Lindsay used, where not being on board with this false ideal means you’re a bad Christian wife.  That little bonus should be far less common but is all too sadly quite easy to find among Catholic, Orthodox and Protestant housewives all.  Ultimately it subverts the ability to maintain a properly ordered domestic sphere and thus is an own-goal.