How to bring back the economic component of the women’s sphere?

To a large extent, the retreat of women from their own discrete sphere is driven by the stripping of its economic components due to various technological factors.  The question for conservatives is how to seriously and meaningfully deal with this aspect of the traditional women’s sphere instead of declaring that it either doesn’t matter or is a solved problem since an individual woman can “work from home” for her family’s financial benefit in limited, specific, idiosyncratic instances.

It’s a tough nut to crack, not least because certain economic things women did that were compatible with the domestic sphere as they lost their traditional trades were themselves only viable options due to mass media that evolved from technological advances.  I’m speaking of the numerous housewives and stay-at-home daughters who wrote to support or supplement their families’ incomes, of course.  But the markets they sold into would not have existed without the very technological forces that led us to the atomized, isolated housewives of the latter 20th and now 21st century.  And it’s so hard to communicate the loss, and the sheer amount of income they were responsible for.

Anyway this is an open sticky post for suggestions and discussion.  Will probably update occasionally with relevant links or posts as I run into them.

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Dear Conservatives, setting things up so all housewives are drudges is anti-natalist and untraditional

Bullying women into staying home obviously doesn’t work, and yet it appears to make up the whole of the conservative argument for women staying home.  This is one of the core problems with American conservative Christian culture.  It leads to conservative Christian SAHMs putting kids into preschool as soon as the children age into it for breaks because “well, it’s not daycare now, it’s school!” It also leads to those women having fewer and fewer children.  Three is the new five and two is the new three.

Take cooking, as one example. Making stock takes time.  Sure, you don’t have to stand right over the pot, but you have to be in the general vicinity of the kitchen for 3-5 hours for relatively modest amounts of stock.  Now, this is the sort of homemade staple that we SAHMs are supposed to just have handy at all times, but it takes time to make it, and it takes even more time to make huge batches that you then freeze.  That’s a day or two or three you aren’t doing much else.  And I’ve already covered laundry.

As for childcare, we can’t all have lump babies that stay put wherever you plop them and we can’t all have children who hear an instruction to play quietly when they are older and do so for hours on end (this is actually fairly rare).  And the current status quo of spinning the childcare out to public school or preschool is not tenable, because it limits fertility and the false idol of homeschool robs a lot of communities of the stability they desperately need to have a functional school system.

There is no argument against homeschooling on a family level. Parents have the right and duty to educate our children as we see fit, and a state that interferes with this is acting unjustly. On a larger level, however, homeschooling as a movement is extremely uncharitable and antisocial. Not everyone can homeschool. As a society, we need schools and other collective institutions to spread the burden of childcare and primary education and to properly civilize and educate young people. But if you saddle enough individual families with the total burden of the care and education of their own children, you ensure that those families will have no surplus to support any such institutions. And this is in fact exactly what has happened. Everyone blames this on the homeschooling families themselves, because when you’re talking about homeschooling families you’re really talking about homeschooling mothers and no one ever passes up an opportunity to blame mom for everything, but individual families are just doing our best in impossible situations. But people who can’t homeschool are left entirely at the mercy of the world all the homeschooling families have retreated from. There’s no civil society to join run by homeschooling mothers because we’re all too tired. Homeschooling mothers generally don’t even help each other out.

http://www.isegoria.net/2015/04/making-time-for-kids/#comments  This longitudinal study suggests that being there when the kids are little is worth a lot less if the SAHM isn’t relatively rested most of the time.  And there is an argument here (though not one I would advocate or consider pro-woman) for working while they are little and then, when they need the intensive parenting in teenagerhood, being available then as a SAHM.

This is why it’s insane to set things up so all women are drudges, it’s not Christian or functionally patriarchal. A lot of personality disordered people are able to hide out in “traditional womanhood” because there is an irreducible amount of domestic work and right now, that burden is going to fall on women. People can fantasize about it being different but right now, that’s how it is. Moreover, very few people can make more money than their labor is worth at home and very few couples can split the work effectively, for exactly the same reasons jobsharing doesn’t work, which is that you need a manager.

Much of femininity and marriage is socially constructed but you can socially construct it well or you can socially construct it stupidly and marriage and patriarchy are BETTER so who cares if they’re natural plus, Christian patriarchy is the only society that supports female liberation so stop sawing the branch you’re sitting on.

Lastly, women used to produce concrete results in their domestic work.  The industrial age was a rapid process of removing those concrete accomplishments from the domestic sphere and replacing them with vague repetitive tasks like driving the kids to activities (which goes all the way back in America to the 1920s!) and endless cleaning up kid messes and of course our dear friend laundry.  Those things are not terrible or wrong for mothers to do, but the conservative approach to the whole thing is to lie to women that they never had any other aspects to their domestic work and that they should delight in the abstract repetitive slog with no clear results at the end of each day.  Women then run to “crafts” in a flight to concrete accomplishment, and then are mocked for the crafts not being sufficiently useful or practical.  It’s a vicious trap.

Anyway this is all just random notes accumulated over time so if it doesn’t read like an essay, well, it’s not. I don’t know how to help women get the concrete aspects back for domestic labor when it’s simply not essential to survival anymore.  Our household lives a pretty agrarian lifestyle and we wouldn’t starve if we had a plague followed by a drought.  It would just be expensive to buy store food again.  And that’s pretty much the core of the problem.  The concrete accomplishments of my agrarian living help alleviate the stresses of the worst of modern housewiving, but “be agrarian LARPers” is not a general solution to a general problem.

Leftism and liberalism are sociopathic ways to talk about real and obvious truths

What it says on the tin.

One of my favorite bloggers is Zippy Catholic, who is fond of saying that many problems of liberalism can be explained as sociopathic manifestations of reality pushing through.  That is, liberalism may be ideologically confused and contradictory, especially the form known as leftism, but all this means is that it treats normal things sociopathically.

We can see this with leftism and its extremist views on race, sex, family and so forth.  Clan and kin matter, who you are and where you come from matter, but leftists are sociopathic about this obvious set of truths.  They say clan and kin don’t matter while making very sure to save some job slots for their own children, spouses and fellow travelers.  Racial and even ethnic groups where everyone’s the same skin color are different in behavior and preferred hobbies and forms of government and civilization (towns, villages, etc.)  Again, an obvious truth, but leftists go all sociopathic on it by pretending those differences are trivial while demanding everyone behave like specific subcultures of white ethnic leftists in a handful of Anglo-descended nations (aka, the sociopathy of the SWPL).

We can also see this with women and politics. Women pursue politics as a response to the ways that industrialization and mass society scale larger and larger, peeling away the roles they would otherwise have.  Liberalism sociopathically encourages women to pursue political solutions to their social problems, while stripping more and more traditional roles and protections away from them.

I think this is a key major point in having a normal society and a properly ordered hestia, understanding that sociopathic (anti-social, perverse, distorted) descriptions of real things are still describing real things that should be preserved.  We should care about clan and kin.  We should want women to be productive and happy in their home-focused spheres, with exceptional women being treated as just that.  We should want men to be able to lead and support their families and have masculine spheres for the men (including but not limited to holy spheres, as not all are called to such lives) who are not married.  The American conservative “colorblind” “patriotic” thing is frail and unnatural and doesn’t cut to the heart of why people are so alone and disordered.  Some of the wacky hijinks of the leftists do, though, under all the rhetorical tricks and misdirection.

 

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.