The American right rejects systemic critique and this is bad

Sometimes the problem is with the system and it’s not just a bunch of individuals failing to do things properly.

I had an example from instapundit with him mocking some woman who wrote about the shifts in mothering expectations compared to in her mother’s time (the 1970s in this case), but I can’t find the link anymore, so too bad for me.  But I was going to use it to point out that huge shifts in mechanization, industrialization, globalization of capital and stripping local regions of economic, social and political autonomy are the means by which we get women acting in strange ways when it comes to things like child-rearing or marriage and that mocking them on an individual basis means that the critiques miss the systemic aspects that require collective effort to reverse or alter.

Pointing and laughing at individual women or men is how conservatives get out of really interrogating the impacts of overscaled systems and deracination on community and individual behavior and life.

The level of social isolation the average American tolerates would have been unheard of even during the 1970s and 1980s.  Instead of systemic critique about this, though, it’s all fantasy LARPing on the internet about submissive housewives and “bull alpha” men and “edgelords of reaction” (manosphere and alt-right conservatives) who will restore Western civilization single-handedly (don’t ask what the other hand is doing, thanks).  And in the mainstream conservative and right-wing world, it’s a gloriously stubborn belief that Business As Usual will continue if only they can vote out those dastardly “libs”.

But it’s hard to get out of the social isolation.  We’ve gone from the days when hermits and anchorites would come to church every single Sunday to people thinking it is acceptable and normal to not see anyone other than your children for days or weeks at a time (SAHM isolation) or no-one at all while you work from home or play from home online (single male and female isolation).  And it’s very hard when you yourself are worn out to keep forcing social interactions because absolutely nothing organic exists.  No neighbors stop by, there’s nothing you might need to borrow, there’s no traveling service sellers, and families don’t all live in the same houses or on the same street or share a couple of adjoining homestead parcels anymore.  When you have to initiate every single possible social interaction outside your home, that exhausts all but the most aggressively social people, and can tucker plenty of them out too.

But even though I am talking about way more people than tired housewives here, conservatives don’t care about the systemic changes that lead to tens of millions living in isolation from other humans except through the hugely inferior interactions of internet and phone.  Or maybe they’re afraid to confront the vastness of the problem.  It could well be ego destroying to consider how terrible and huge the problem is and how many people suffer for it, male and female alike.

Like I opened with, this is bad.

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Economic defensiveness isn’t a good look

There are plenty more, but they all boil down to “Cheaping out is better because it makes me feel better about not having moneys.”

Needless to say, this is not as compelling an argument as people think.  I don’t think people who make these arguments about cheapness being superior parenting are conscious of the implication, but I can assure them, that’s what average people are thinking.  They are thinking “defensive about being POOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRR”.  They are not thinking such people (disproportionately conservatives) are brilliant geniuses for not spending money on their beloved children.

A while back I looked up food stamp data and found that (proxied) conservative families were avoiding meat so they could avoid food stamp use, while non-conservative families were getting food stamps so they could have meat regularly.  Yeah, people don’t think you’re superior or better or wiser for avoiding access to high-quality protein out of ego-defense issues.  Tangentially, the lethargy that low protein causes probably makes having a larger family easier in fairly obvious ways, but that’s just a side effect.

Conservatives never worry that fathers aren’t spending enough time with their kids

Much of the “SAHMs don’t need help” gaslighting revolves around the idea that if mom spends thirty seconds away from the kids, they are doomed and she doesn’t really love them, but nobody ever has this feeling that daddy will go unrecognized after he comes home from 8/10/12 hours of working outside the home.

Curious, considering their great concern about the importance of fathers.

Yep, I went there.

When right wing populism goes wrong, daycare edition

Over at the Washington Examiner, someone thinks that it’s right wing and populist to have mothers of young children working outside the home.  It’s a short article, so it follows below.  I’ve bolded the most questionable bits.

 

The Obama administration, according to Katharine Stevens in the Wall Street Journal, is paving the way for more regulation of child care. This seems like a great place for conservatives to fight for the interests of the poor and working class, against overbearing government.

In other words, it’s an opportunity for free­market populism.
The administration is pushing guidelines for who can get federal grants, but Stevens — who is a fellow
research fellow of mine at the American Enterprise Institute — worries that these grant guidelines are
a “Trojan horse bearing counterproductive requirements,” on early­childhood educators and daycare
providers.

These aren’t rules governing basic health and safety standards, like drinking water, cleanliness or
broken glass. Some are micromanaging: “cot placement” for daycare. Others are about requiring
credentialing — such as requiring preschool teachers to have bachelor’s degrees.

Some level of regulation of childcare and preschool is about requiring what parents would demand.
But at a certain point, it becomes excessive.
Excessive regulation of daycare and preschool mostly hurts the poor and working class. For one
thing, it makes daycare rarer and more expensive.

Some on the Left will respond and say, “well, let’s just subsidize them more.” That doesn’t address the
other problem: curbing work opportunities for women.
More importantly, unnecessary regulation and credentialing requirements take away from many
women the best way they could make money: at-­home daycare.
You don’t want moms sticking 15 kids in a tiny basement. You don’t want home daycare locations run
by human smugglers. But excessive regulation curbs employment options — and daycare options —
for lower­-income folks.

The bold portions are the most iffy bits of this ridiculous article.  Why does anyone want the poor and working class women working outside the home?  That is, as I’ve recently noted, a way of subsidizing consumerism all by itself.  And note the obsession with “work opportunities” for women at home with their kids already, because the domestic sphere itself is, you know, not worth anything for its own sake.  It’s just a storage space for all those future cubicle warriors and retail cogs.

And this is from a super right wing media outlet!  It’s just another brick in the “free-market” wall.  It’s not right wing or conservative to keep doubling down on shoving everyone out into the artificial, inhuman modern workforce.  It’s also not populist to only support mothers if they generate income explicitly.  Can mothers earn income at home with their kids?  Sure, that’s certainly an option.  But should women be pressured into it at the expense of preserving and encouraging a real domestic sphere?  This conservative housewife would say absolutely not.  Someday, maybe, the rest of the right will too.

A Very Neoreactionary Christmas

If I had given the matter much thought, I’d have assumed that our friends in the neoreaction community spent Christmas time pretending to enjoy single malt scotch while burning a yule log and promising themselves that they’ll spend the next year sacrificing a horse to Thor and/or performing the blood eagle on an NPR listener.

How sad I was to find that instead of celebrating a tradition, or spending time with family, they decided to tweet each other about an old article I wrote a year ago about Bronies (who are kind of like Moldbug fans, but motivated to action by their fandom.)

Alas, it didn’t even provide a traffic boost.

But for them, it meant the lures of modernity were more important than even a tiny genuflection in the direction of hierarchy, proper authority and folk traditions of the West.  They went against all the stuff they are presumably into regarding tradition and family to jibberjab about some old post on a housewife’s blog.

 

A conservative own goals on breastfeeding

This conservative is missing the real problems (conservative) women face regarding the choice to breastfeed.  What he is linking to is an article and photo shoot that presents an aggressive, sexualized model of breastfeeding, and it’s a real problem that secular magazines are big fans of that sort of thing.

But instead of some discourse on that, we get a claim that nobody can recognize the difference between aggressive and intentionally sexualized breastfeeding presentations vs. presentations of breastfeeding as what mothers do when babies are hungry.  And most of the comments on Dalrock’s post further miss an opportunity to promote something natural and normal by complaining that any mother who doesn’t use a cover to breastfeed is exactly the same as the sexualized-on-purpose women I’ve linked in the first paragraph.

There’s a difference between that 1871 presentation of breastfeeding and the modern photo shoots, and if you really think there isn’t, or can’t seem to figure out what it is, the problem doesn’t lie with breastfeeding women.  Likewise, while many babies are happy to eat in the dark with their heads covered, many othes are not, and that doesn’t make their mothers attention-crazed thrill seekers for not using a cover to nurse in public.

A lot of women are shy and don’t expect some of the responses a hungry baby will have in public.  They could be encouraged, or they could be mocked for trying to do what women have done in public forever.  I guess we know what some men went for!

As for the real problems faced, there’s the non-trivial changes to the breast tissue (including fun stuff like UNIBOOB for the duration of infant nursing, try dressing to accommodate that one!), there’s the very different sleep pattern compared to feeding formula, there’s the milk production (itself a potentially exhausting endeavor), there’s the incompatibility with outside the home employment in most cases (yeah, yeah, pumping, but not really, it’s a huge hassle and mostly women just give up in favor of formula for fairly obvious reasons).  Oh, and there’s the ugly little reality (another kind of own goal if you will) that an astonishing number of right wing folks will scream at the drop of a hat about evil lactivists bullying women into breastfeeding.  I cannot count the times a discussion on some other topic at a right wing or conservative forum was interrupted by someone (usually male) going off about evil hospitals trying to get their wives to breastfeed and how terrible and mean it was.  It is a really interesting contrast to liberal areas of the internet where women exult about breaking up their marriages in order to breastfeed (not, incidentally, a better choice for baby in totality and also a real thing that happens).

I will return in a future post to that own goaling about women trying to do biologically normal stuff, it’s part of the conservative approach to gnostic heresy and is very American and sadly old, but it’s also for another day.