Why the SJW pushback is happening in gaming and SFF

It’s happening there because those are realms where conservative male fans are willing to do unpaid scutwork for ideological reasons, since conservative women are no longer allowed the leisure to conduct the culture wars.

Unpaid scutwork for ideology is not exclusively female, but women do tend towards a genuine preference for licking envelopes and composing form letter templates as compared to men.  I am not at all the first to point out the female preference for dull desk work, but it’s interesting when men do decide to provide a bunch of unpaid labor for a movement.

This is one of many reasons why I get all strident and repetitive about the cult of drudgery for housewives.  It’s not bad, guys, if there’s a class of women with leisure and free time, who are supported by their husbands.  Most of those women were not feminists or proto-feminists, contrary to the bizarre conservative narrative that “overly leisured housewives” are the source of all modern woe.  Leisured housewives are the women who provided the unpaid labor that supported so much that conservatives claim to adore, like functional public schools, social institutions, community events, parishes and other church infrastructure.

And it is very telling that you can only get leisured men to provide unpaid labor when it’s weird nerd hobbies.





5 reasons why it’s good (and traditional) for SAHMs to pay for housecleaning.

  1. Establishes a consistent and reliable baseline that suits your household.
  2. Helps train you, the SAHM, in the classic art of delegation. Delegating frees a SAHM up to do more complex organizational tasks and decorating to make the house more of a home.  Modelling specialization is healthy and a sign of civilization.
  3. Makes it easier to teach the children basics of housecleaning because you aren’t worn out from constant maintenance/fire-putting-out cleaning.  SAHMs who try to do it all have a much harder time raising children who have any experience with household chores.  The kids just get used to watching Mamma drudge through everything.
  4. Provides employment and builds community relations by keeping money in the community and by not being as strict an employer/employee setup, but something more casual and with the opportunity to build acquaintance and properly ordered mingling of social classes.
  5. Shows the children there are many ways to make a living that are respectable and decent paying and strikes a tiny but noticeable blow at the modern cult of the makework desk job as only “real” job.

Vox Day is a Practical Conservative

Being a practical conservative means doing things that are useful and helpful to those who’d like to live normally.  One of those things is producing high-quality homeschool curricula.  While some conservatives dismiss the importance of developing such things, they are actually pretty darned important to the task of creating a parallel society of educated, conservatively reared children.  Homeschooling isn’t a cure-all, but it is certainly one tool in the tool box of practical, conservative, traditionally focused living.

Vox Day is being serious here, using his new publishing house venture to publish and develop high-level homeschool curricula.  This looks like useful stuff.  

I’m busy popping out babies left and right, so I’m years away from having to worry about schooling options, but it’s good to see more efforts to develop high-quality curricula among those who promote homeschooling.

Why subsidiarity doesn’t happen

Jim Kalb asks why subsidiarity isn’t practiced more at Crisis Magazine (It’s a reprint from somewhere else less popular, heh).

His conclusions are simple, but as is common in the dissident right, too abstract.  His conclusion is that subsidiarity isn’t practiced because liberals value fake equality (in the form of levelling bureaucracies) and conservatives value fake efficiency (in the form of cronyism labelled “free-market policies”).

This is yet another example of recasting first principles and thinking that is going to be meaningful.  The real reason we don’t have subsidiarity is because people are lazy and selfish.  Conservatives won’t support the local seamstress because it means owning fewer clothes and how can they prove their frugality is AWESOME without giant piles of clothes?  Liberals won’t support small local businesses that make real profits because that exposes their personal failures to make it big and they’d rather hide behind the illusory righteousness of a government sinecure working for “the people”.

Kalb’s essay is of a piece with all his writing on this topic, a refusal to get down and dirty and be clear about the myriad tiny selfish patterns we’ve all fallen into out of ridiculous, nearly unfathomable prosperity and how very hard it is to be broken of them, for Our Lord.

I will reveal my total nerd nature here and note that Cordwainer Smith, a sci-fi writer and CIA expert, understood this problem well though he was writing in the pre-60s for the most part.  He had a race of superwealthy people called the Norstrilians, who sold the elixir of long life.  Their way of coping with wealth was to tax themselves senseless and live an agrarian life, complete with employees and bosses.  They recognized the risks of prosperity and had their own clear strategy for dealing with it.  Those who wanted to enjoy the money could leave, but they could never return on pain of death.

Now we don’t all live on a planet in the far reaches of outer space where sick sheep produce a substance that can grant near-eternal life, but we could take a lesson from those Norstrilians and accept real, difficult trade-offs regarding our prosperity before we have certain trade-offs forced upon us by the changing winds of circumstance and time.

Specificity is crucial because without it, people can dismiss an abstract notion that “conservatives are too free-market friendly” as balderdash and make no changes in their lifestyles.  But admitting that slave labor allows you to have what you consider necessities?  People would have to confront that reality.  Kalb’s soft abstraction makes it easy to never do the work or take the risk and go live a subsidiarist life.

Anyway that is why we haven’t got a subsidiarist nation-state of awesome.  I come back to the clothing example a lot because the textile situation globally is REALLY REALLY HORRIBLE.  Secondary markets (thrifting) are still part of the problem, just a much smaller part than buying new (even if with discounts and the like).

That’s all for right now.

Real Talk for SAHMs, Infant Sleep Edition

It’s the electricity.  Without artificial light in the form of streetlights, electric night lights, and the glow from various appliances and gadgets, even frequent wakers among babies would sleep longer.

Thus, the conflicting advice on how to get an infant to “sleep better” only serves to divide and instill needless guilt about not having a “good sleeper” when the problem is something much bigger and not easily erased with better planning.  One of the reasons co-sleeping is more effective at extending infant sleep anecdotally is because master bedrooms tend to be the darkest room in the house at night.  A lot of infants are put in cribs with glowing monitors and/or night lights, which is mostly not the case when the baby is in a cosleeper or bedsharing.

The recent trend of fretting about nighttime computer use and “blue light” from laptops and smartphones and tablets affecting adult sleep is the tip of a huge iceberg of modernity.

Our foremothers got more sleep at night even with frequent-waking infants because even a pretty frequent waker just seems to drop some wakeups in (relatively) natural night darkness.  And it is really hard to get rid of all the sources of light.  We live in a part of the country where people are wired for generators because of the rural setting and it’s still lit up to a high degree at night, even homes nowhere near the street lights.  And it is quite shocking to realize how much stuff glows at night in the kitchen, the living room, the bathroom, etc.

I’ve seen wakings go from every 90 minutes to every three hours just by putting the infant in approximately natural darkness.  However, it is very difficult to maintain in any kind of standard American household setting, even among homeschooling conservatives who don’t have televisions (but definitely have some iDevices lurking).

Now there’s a practical project I’d love to see some technically adept conservatives tackle– housing design so that natural darkness can be preserved during nighttime.  There are a number of possible strategies, and imagine being able to live in such a home, or have your own home modified to have both modern electric lighting and the ability to get a mostly natural level of darkness at night even in the city.  The health benefits to mothers alone would probably increase the old TFR by a couple tenths of a point.  Fertility can sometimes be delayed partly because of the sleep deprivation that has become the unfortunate norm for modern SAHMs.

Reasonable community standards are functional community standards

Pre-60s housewives were generally NOT expected to cough up fresh bread daily, or gourmet meals three times a day.  They were also not expected to keep a very large home spotless whilst mincing about in heels and pearls.  The community standards for what a housewife was supposed to do were actually pretty minimal and attainable for even relatively brokedown women.

A simple (truly simple) dish of meat/eggs/fish, a starch and one or two spices was considered completely decent and good enough.  Needless to say, this is no longer true, particularly among conservative SAHMs, who tend to be most driven towards expectation inflation in the matters of domesticity for various reasons I’ve either already covered or will the next time I read through old posts to note allusions I haven’t written up yet.

One of the reasons Mormons are still functionally conservative in many respects is that they remember that you can’t keep up appearances if the appearances are very complex and detailed.  People sometimes make cracks about how Mom wouldn’t let them mess up the ‘parlor for company’, but this dramatically slashed the ongoing cleaning burden and made for an attainable cross-class and cross-income and cross-racial set of housewiving standards that average to slightly dim women could manage with a little elbow grease.

Conservatives, if they want normal life restored, have to remember that broad-based community standards must consider all God’s children and be minimal without being token.  It can be a fine line to navigate, but we have so much tradition from so many of the cultures that infuse American identity to draw upon in shaping those simple, reachable goals.

But it can be hard when Walter Mitty syndrome is rampant.

Light Manufacturing of Baby and Children’s Products

Conservatives could be producing pre-2012 BOB-quality strollers.  BOB is a high-quality brand of stroller that used to be metal framed, but is now plastic (but the price didn’t drop!)  I am pretty sure the CPSIA issues could be handled a number of ways, but the main thing is to actually be doing.  This could also be a way to incorporate the more functional aspects of the maker movement.  3D printing is useful for baby stuff like snot suckers and sippy straws that don’t fall apart from being made of cheap brittle plastic.

A quick note about the CPSIA.  This was a horrible set of regulations passed several years ago that has driven a lot of high-quality makers of children’s products out of business and wrecked the quality of many others.  This has been a heavy burden because a great deal of destructive testing is required and most of the useful exceptions are for the Chinese-produced goods that led to the legislation in the first place.  Many conservatives blogged about the issue and were able to lightly dent the problematic nature of the regulations in small, but non-trivial ways.

Anyway, despite the CPSIA, the opportunities are still there, just require some thoughtful planning and wargaming.