The fundamentalist 1970s back to the land movement was funded with food stamps and welfare

This was also true of the more left-wing hippies.  There was an interesting confluence during this time of far left and far right starting “self-sufficiency” communal living experiments with the help of welfare.  I didn’t read a book for this one, although you can find little allusions in memoirs about some of this, and the very occasional one-off reference.  Mostly you can find out what happened by looking up the history of the food stamp/SNAP/WIC nutrition support programs on wikipedia.  During the 1970s, some changes were made to what was then still called “food stamps” to permit seeds, gardening equipment and some other tools to be purchased with the stamps instead of money.  A fascinating side effect was that a number of fundamentalist groups/cults/etc. decided to leave the cities and go try to live out in the country off the land.

What I find really interesting about this is that the right wing appears to have no history for this.  The entire Crunchy Con, fundie-hippie, prepper/survivalist, homesteading subset of conservatives finds its Ur-model in the Back to the Land movement.  And this movement that was all about surviving off the grid self-sufficiently away from The (Liberal) Man was jumpstarted by food stamps and cash welfare.  Yet as far as I can tell, it might as well be knowledge hidden under a rock to the modern conservative equivalents.

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The Latina high school dropout and Asian immigrant SAHM revolution

So there was a Pew report a while back about the changing demographics of the American SAHM, emphasizing that they were disproportionately “less educated”, “young”, “lower income” and “less white”.  But of course digging into the report’s data reveals that they are also disproportionately “Latina or Asian” and “first generation immigrants”.

It is quite common for liberal women who work outside the home to sneer at SAHMs as uneducated axlotl tanks via news pulpits or just internet comment threads and of course in person, to a SAHM’s face.  They have been able to get away with this because people believed that this was just about being mean to conservative Christian white women who are of course fair game in our sad disordered society.  The reality that the demographic shift in SAHMs is ethnic and cultural is ostentatiously ignored when it comes to pushing that “lol dumb sheltered SAHMs” narrative.  Even when the ethnic changes must be acknowledged, as in the Pew report’s data, the headlines don’t emphasize that “poor and not-white” does not in fact mean “black and female”.  They just sort of let that be assumed even when it doesn’t add up, relying on the head explosion to make people skimming revert to their comforting stereotype that SAHMs are all stupid unschooled right wing white women.

This isn’t included in the Pew data, but it is worth noting as well that these Asian and Latina SAHMs are more likely to live traditionally in the form of households where gramma and auntie live in their own quarters but pop out to assist with the cooking, cleaning and childcare.  This means that these households can manage at a lower income on the books and have a more functional quality of life despite the appearance of “poverty level earnings”.  It also is misleading, as a larger but more efficient household can have a very decent living standard on poverty-level wages, as the thresholds for 5, 6, 7, 9 people are pretty high.

When gramma really will just cook all day while auntie takes the kids to the playground and mamma scrubs the bathrooms, you suddenly don’t need nearly as much money or consumption to maintain a decent living standard for the household.  Lastly, Asian (Including South) and Latin children (with indigenous ancestry) are more docile and less physically mobile as infants and toddlers compared to black and white children.  This is well documented by scientific observation across multiple decades. Thus, the changing demographic shifts also reflect women who have children more compatible with modern SAHM multitasking expectations than white or black mothers.  So it’s a very different experience and one that makes women from these ethnic and cultural backgrounds amenable to staying at home, particularly when their children are young.  Those ethnic differences in how little ones behave are, uh, also not mentioned when discussing SAHM realities and demographics.

The hourglassing of male income

True middle-income guys who might have married in the past are being squeezed out in favor of slackers and high achievers.  It’s an amplified version of “Yale or jail”, except it’s “xbox and living off your woman’s 35k/yr job or make 75k plus”.

Married men with SAHMs are making most of the taxable income, contrary to the narrative pushed about the “breadwinner mom”.  Direct from the very Pew data used for that narrative, the married man+SAHM household clears about 78k per year as the median, while the married “breadwinner mom” (plus husband with a job, carefully not worded that way though) clears about 80k per year as the median.  But because the “breadwinner mom” married households consist of two lower incomes and also get very favorable tax treatment for childcare expenses, they pay lower net taxes despite having a slightly higher gross income.  The American federal income tax system is structured to favor double-income married households earning about 75k who put the kids in daycare as far as tax breaks for broad swathes of the married population go.  It is not nearly so well set up to favor single-income married households as is commonly claimed because those households overperform economically and thus phase out of the tax benefits available to those married with children.

Needless to say, all this isn’t mentioned in any of the news articles riffing on said Pew data to declare the awesomesauce of breadwinning mothers.  But the current economic situation in America is that there’s a hourglass effect on male income, and female workforce participation increases aren’t sufficient to replace the lost male earnings, because as we can see from the jury-rigged comparison of earnings above, women just aren’t earning as much as men even if they earn the highest or the sole income for the household.  The result is a smaller and smaller number of married men who overperform and whose W2 wages provide the bulk of what tax base remains for the massive welfare edifice that the federal, state and local governments have built up in the last half century.

This hourglass effect is also mostly left out of the discourse on income inequality, along with its far-ranging effects on the long-term health of the current welfare state.  It’s also a pattern conservatives need to keep in mind when lamenting the decline of marriage and discussing ways to revive marriage as a social institution.

6 shocking facts about abortion both pro-lifers and pro-choicers never mention.

  1. About 67% of all reported abortions happen before 8 weeks gestation.
  2. Nearly 40% of all reported abortions happen before 6 weeks gestation.
  3. 92% of all reported abortions happen before 13 weeks gestation.  This means the overwhelming majority of reported abortions happen long before a woman is likely to feel movement and often before the sac is detectable by ultrasound.
  4. Surgical abortion, even at 6 weeks gestation, remains the norm, with nearly 75% of reported abortions before 13 weeks gestation terminated via invasive surgical procedures.  Keep in mind many of these surgeries are being done when the embryonic development is difficult to even detect reliably via ultrasound, which means an unknown percentage of women are undergoing risky, invasive surgery for what might not even be a viable pregnancy or even a pregnancy at all.  Luteal cysts and chemical pregnancies can sometimes trigger a positive pregnancy test before 6 weeks gestation, as can unviable pregnancies that would have naturally miscarried early at 7-9 weeks gestation.  This is why even pro-choice people should support transvaginal ultrasound confirmation of pregnancy before performing such early abortions.
  5. New York City alone represents about 25% of the black reported abortion rate.
  6. The “abortion access gap” is that black women’s abortion rates before 6 weeks are about 10 percentage points lower than white, Hispanic or other-ethnic women.  But there is no significant gap after 13 weeks.  Thus, all races of women have a reported abortion rate for the first trimester around the 92% figure cited above.  Needless to say, this is not how pro-choice people report the data.

All of these facts are based on the CDC’s abortion surveillance data.  That is why I use the term “reported abortions”, as California and some other areas have not chosen to report their data for a very long time, so we can only rely on what is reported.  The abortion rate is also decreasing across all racial groups, independent of abortion providers closing down.  There is some correlation, but not to the extent usually portrayed by abortion activists and mainstream media.  But the references for that come from multiple sources, some of which are pro-life, and I am not so good at chartifying data these days.

The takeaways here should be that women are getting abortions very, very, very early on, about as soon as the stick shows positive. For pro-lifers, this means that persuading women to stay pregnant just seven weeks instead of six would slash abortion rates by nearly 40%.  Get women to stay pregnant for nine weeks and now the majority of all abortions have been eradicated.  About 500k children would be born who’d have been aborted otherwise.

There is, however, no easy way to get this to happen.  The way to persuade women to stay pregnant once they’ve made a regrettable decision to fornicate (85% of reported abortions are obtained by unmarried women) pretty much involves actually being part of her life as a member of her social group.  There’s also the difficult work of persuading women that a little comfort with a guy who you don’t think will help raise the baby is maybe not worth the bother.  Celibacy also reduces abortion.  There is some inferential evidence that culture-wide, women are in fact just having less sex rather than continuing to have sterile sex that turns out to not be so sterile after all.

Another takeaway is that the pro-choice claims that women can’t get abortions or that “80 percent of counties in America have no abortion provider”  are very, very, very misleading.  The focus on second trimester and later abortions is purposeful misdirection from the fact that even poor black women and poor rural women can find their way to an abortion provider long before the second trimester arrives. One should also question how much they care about women’s health given their insistence that confirming there’s a pregnancy at all is woman-hating or a form of rape or, well, you can google their feels about transvaginal ultrasounds and see for yourself.

I’m not pro-choice or pro-life.  I’m pro-woman.  In the benighted hellholes known as Germany, France, Italy and Sweden (to name just a few countries), abortion is greatly restricted compared to American laws, the rooms have to be spotless and the procedure usually must be done in a real hospital.  They also have lower per capita abortion rates, deaths from abortion are a memory rather than an annual occurrence and the women’s health statistics are better overall.  Funny how that works.

Feudal women vs. modern women.

This is a quickie revisiting this post I made about how there is an entire contingent of women who find loyalty and stability sexy.  There seems to be a distinct inability in some men to accept this as a concept.  However, it’s not at all true that women as a class find marriage-worthy men less sexy.  Modern women do.  I don’t mean modern in the sense of “uses technology” but rather “completely operates under an essentially individualistic, self-focused, Enlightenment-derived mindset”.

This type of woman is obviously relatively common and due to fitting into narratives of modern mores being successfully propagated, appears to be presented as Ur-woman.  However, I think that the existence of feudally inclined women (i.e., women with a pre-modern view of life and love) is wildly underestimated on all sides.  In my own referenced post, I used the terms “peasant woman” and “aristocrat woman”, but one can just combine those into “feudal woman” and come out the same.

I am a feudal woman and I have even found many feudal women among bohemian folks in my years on this earth.  It is similar to the way that many right-wing people can have a liberally oriented mindset and some left-wing people can have a conservative mindset.  Feudal affinity in women is simply ordering one’s life according to a more feudal notion of life, love, community and romantic attachments despite the ways in which modernity works against such views.

Even in a world of dazzling wealth and extreme pressure to be self-focused, there are women who order their lives around devotion to community, ethny, kin and nation and expect the men they are attracted to to do the same.  And find themselves not attracted to men who don’t show some signs of this collective orientation and lack of individualism. Basically, just as a pretty goodly fraction of men do not find women of highly negotiable virtue appealing, there seem, if one is viewing the world as it is, to be quite a goodly number of women who aren’t into the cad thing and do not find them appealing.

Patriocentricity is not Patriarchy

Some things just have to be endlessly repeated over and over, clearly.  Patriocentricity is father-worship, with an emphasis on individual family units being subservient to unrestrained false “patriarchs” who themselves have no higher authority to be subject to (not even other father-leaders).

Unfortunately, patriocentricity is what a lot of conservatives think of as patriarchy.  It is worst in abusive fundamentalist Christian subcultures like Quiverfull or the now-former Vision Forum and Gothard/ATI subcultures, but it certainly appears over and over among other kinds of conservative or traditionalist Christians.

One reason these subcultures are relatively small is because there is no coherent authority or hierarchy.  At best they are cults of personality, which cannot be lasting sources of invested authority.  At worst it’s a bunch of isolated families being ill used by a man who answers to no-one and does as he pleases, which was not really the case in any historical patriarchy, not even the pagan ones where a patriarch had life or death authority over his familias/clan.

Patriarchy means men have responsibilities and have to answer to other people outside their immediate family.  They also, in addition, have headship in their own individual households, but it doesn’t supersede their hierarchical status within their local community.  I find it quite telling that a lot of self-proclaimed patriarchs on and off the internet fight the hardest against actual patriarchy being implemented.  An unfortunate and recent example is Doug Philips of Vision Forum.  He failed to accede to the authority or intervention of his (supposed) co-elders, which again is rebellion and not patriarchy.  More prosaic examples are the guys who can never attend a church because the leadership just isn’t Godly enough for them and “pastor” their families at home.

For the purposes of those interested in Western traditions and restoring them to the extent possible given time and technology, polygamy is practical patriocentricity rather than patriarchy.  So anyone supporting or encouraging polygamy is not advocating a pro-Christian patriarchy or pro-Western patriarchy position.  Patriocentric systems work against patriarchy, and polygamy tends to degenerate into patriocentricity fairly readily.  While not a common conservative theme, there are nevertheless a noticeable minority who promote polygamy either implicitly or explicitly and this promotion should be discouraged among those who are pro-Christian patriarchy.

H/T to Hester at Scarlet Letters, who is slogging through old Vision Forum stuff and brought the term patriocentricity into play.  It’s a very useful term.

ETA: From the comments, it appears the term was coined several years ago by Karen Campbell over at the blog That Mom.

What living near each other could look like

I sometimes read a little group blog called The Orthosphere.  It’s run by a bunch of conservative men who seem really sincere about promoting traditionalism.  The problem is that they profoundly misunderestimate what kind of polemic would serve to promote traditionalism as an abstraction.  A recent post there is a case in point, but what this post is about is not the abstract, overlong attempt at conversion rhetoric, but a comment following the post about living more normally/traditionally.

http://orthosphere.org/2014/04/21/you-need-to-be-a-traditionalist-conservative/#comment-43968

Here’s the relevant half of the comment:

“…living correctly is not currently allowed. It’s politically incorrect. But individuals can score small victories in their everyday lives. They can refuse to agree with what they know is wrong. They can act rightly in their own lives or, when forced by overwhelming power to act wrongly, they can do so minimally, under protest. Perhaps we should open a new thread where people are invited to share the ways they resist the current order, act rightly, and maintain their sanity. We must not lose heart because our ideals have been declared thoughtcrime. Current conditions will not last.”

This assertion is correct in that living correctly in a piecemeal, cafeteria fashion is policed and getting increasingly difficult to do if one is conservative.  But this commenter misses the observed reality that doing so in a complete fashion, with a real parallel system is still on the table.  That is the gist of my post here.

Serious conservatives could be buying properties like this with a few other families and setting up a practical agrarian/distributist lifestyle and even potential spouses for their children and a real possibility of grandchildren and future inheritance.  That property has multiple single family homes and enough acreage for each family to “own” one of several crops (livestock is a potential crop, not just plants) and use that specialization opportunity to maximize returns.  Also, with several families living near each other but having their own homes, household tasks could be split up and rotated in traditional agrarian fashion so that nobody was overwhelmed.

Since the property is located in the super-boonies, living near several like-minded families would make the stresses of driving 2-4 hours to the “big cities” to sell the farm products a great deal more tolerable.  And the small core of families could still build relationships and friendships with the locals, but wouldn’t be demoralized if those social ties never formed to a deep extent (which is sometimes the way of things in isolated rural areas).  Living far away from one’s biological relatives would have a lot of the sting taken out, as the redundancy of multiple families means it would be possible to maintain regular visits and contact without the problems that come from leaving crops to do family visiting.  And financially, the property doesn’t require each individual family to have a huge income to pay their portion of a mortgage or massive savings to buy outright.

This is one path to “having all things in common” without ignoring the importance of access to private property and individual opportunities to build wealth and inheritance long-term.  I would also note that there are dozens if not hundreds of these sorts of properties for sale right this very minute, all over the United States.  The work would be hard and challenging, and certainly people have to save up something first, but this is on the table as an option instead of laments about being priced out of the suburbs, where one would have to struggle in a very different and more risky way with a piecemeal approach to living normally.

One doesn’t have to go full Amish, but one does have to set up a lifestyle that lays groundwork for restoration of healthy social structures and institutions by starting with a small group of like minds and branching out from there.  The barnacle approach of continuing to cling to the pieces of liberalism that appeal to you while rejecting the pieces that don’t is not going to continue to be a path for conservatives going forward.  Just as the True Way of faith in Christ is narrow, so too is the list of viable options for preserving normal life for future generations.

Them’s the breaks.  Industrialization and modernity mean we just can’t rely on the old dividends of traditional living.  They’re spent up and we have to just grit the old teeth and give up some precious temporal things now or see our children lose them all.