Conservatives could start their own lower-cost construction companies

Conservatives, instead of complaining about Latin American immigrants taking all the jerbs, could be developing a possible alternative approach to the current Latin American immigrant domination of construction (mostly Mexican, but increasingly other countries such as Guatemala and El Salvador).  One way to go would be to take all those young homeschool guys who need to figure out some way to earn a living and have them do it up collective style.  Many of those young men come from families of 5 or more and are used to the rack and stack approach in a household.

Since a lot of the complaints among the commenters to that blog are about undercutting and working cheaper, one could utilize one of the few existing pools left of American whites who are used to living more densely and achieve many of the same cost efficiencies.  In fact, one could potentially get it classified as a ministry and have third parties eat the workers’ comp expenses and still get the benefits of the lower hourly wages.

Or one could keep complaining on dissident right blogs while sitting at a cheap desk made in China using a computer also made in China from parts mined in politically unstable countries in a house built by those horrible, horrible Mexicans and El Salvadorans.

I’m not saying this suggestion is flawless, it’s a suggestion after all, but it’s got more practical meat to it than the endless whining and zero action that is pretty much the sine qua non of the dissident right.  The regular right’s sine qua is ineffective and almost exclusively political action.  Doing for self wasn’t just a slogan, it was a way to think about clan and ethny and effective collective action in an individualistic, atomized society that was already too far in that direction decades ago.

Not quite what I was thinking would be my 100th post, but that’s ok!

 

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.

Cooking as a middle class SAHM task is recent

What follows below is excerpted from a now-private post discussing food in the context of (mostly) UK society between the wars and shortly after World War 2.  It doesn’t really get into the significance of rationing and it misses some key details of social structure and its changes, but there are some broad points that are correct.  I’ve bolded a specific passage about middle class cooking.

“A couple of years ago, I did a marathon read of fiction from the 1920s to the 1950s…. What drew me in were the experiences of women characters who, like the women they were modelled on, were determining their own lives – pretty much for the first time in history. They bicycled through war time London doing useful things, or sat writing fiction, or lived in squalid bed sits in houses crammed with other young women.

And, of course, they ate. There’s a lot of food in middle class entertainments, and that’s a fact.

What struck me about the pre- and post-war literature I read, was how limited the food was. Heroines drink a lot of tea, toast a lot of bread, and occasionally augment the toast with sardines. Crumpets turn up occasionally, as does afternoon tea (involving cakes) at hotels. The diet was a paelo-low-carber’s nightmare. Sunday usually involve roast meat with roasted vegetables and gravy and breakfast could involve rashers of bacon. Boiled eggs appear and butter was crucial.

Even with all the afternoon cakes and sugared teas, the average calorie per day intake of a modern girl enjoying her bed squat was less than 1200 (by my dodgy, back-of-the-envelope calculations). And on top of that she was walking (striding, usually) everywhere, when she wasn’t biking.

But two other things struck me – how incredibly narrow the diet was. The same few dishes are mentioned repeatedly. Dietary variation doesn’t seem to obsess anyone and cooking is such a low priority, that people are pleased if they have a gas ring to boil eggs on.

I also learned that if you’re starving, what your body prioritises first is fat. There’s a fantastic book called A Woman in Berlin, about a woman who is stuck in Berlin when the Russians invade. The citizens of Berlin are starving, and all she can think about is fat. It’s an obsession. Butter or grease isn’t an addition to other things, it’s the Ground Zero of food, the thing your body wants the most.

The other thing, which I learned from reading E.M. Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady (a very funny read), is that cooking wasn’t a middle class virtue, much less an upper class one. ‘Cooking’ meant leaving a note for Cook about what you wanted to eat the next day. When WWII broke out, households all over England went into spasms because the cooks and maids went off to join the land army or whatever, leaving their mistresses with homes to run and absolutely no idea how to do it. It’s only after the war that it becomes accepted that cooking and cleaning is part of a middle class woman’s set of duties.

We also romanticise a past where women stayed in the kitchen, turning out fabulous, organic, home prepared meals for their families, when that time never existed.

I guess my point is that when it comes to food and food mores – it’s all being made up as we go along, and then varnished over with this patina of fake history.”

This is fairly true, even in an American context.  Although in America, due to the influence of the pioneer mythos, women were simultaneously expected to do a huge amount of household work mostly alone and this resulted in a view of food-as-fuel, best encapsulated by the Midwestern “hotdish”, which is just a bunch of whatever is handy heated up and served with little attention to flavor or taste.

Americans ate a lot of quick foods from 1920-1950, and the mom-at-home-making-dinner was already more of a marketing thing than a lived reality for substantial percentages of the population even if the wife was staying home.  Conservatives who spin stories about the halcyon home cooking of yore seem to forget about the Automat, which was around in the incredibly recent year of…1902.  Mom’s home cooking has, at least in America, always been more of an idea (or advertising slogan) than a necessary component of daily life.  Traditional society is replete with the home cooking being grandma’s, or auntie’s, or the hired girl’s, or the eldest daughter(s).

More simply, middle class status for women has not always revolved around their skillet-slinging capabilities.  In fact, one can see that it is very much not middle class at all in the fiction of Damon Runyon, who was hardly writing about the domestic sphere himself.  And he was also writing in the first half of the 20th century.

Having the opportunity to specialize has been closer to the middle class SAHM reality than what passes for it now in America.  Now SAHMs are excoriated for daring to specialize, if they find the energy to think about it at all.

Of course, I suppose the punchline is that our household eats about 80% of our meals at home, prepared from local, organic, minimally processed or unprocessed ingredients.  But we sure don’t cook every day, and I sure don’t cook all the meals.  And that’s totally traditional.

Childcare is both a skill and a talent

It is clear that a lot of conservatives (though it’s a particularly American malady overall) these days think that childcare is something only a mother can do for her own children and that any other kind of childcare is both morally and psychologically inferior.  Needless to say, this flies against all kinds of traditional views on childcare.

We’ve had a lot of teenaged girls babysit our children for anywhere from a few hours to full-time, probably a dozen in the last two years.  It was really obvious that some girls had that special talent of being able to handle the needs of six or seven children at one time, even if they didn’t themselves come from a large family.  It was also really obvious that other girls could barely manage the needs of one child and were at meltdown mode with just a second one added in.

This happens with mothers too.  Most of the time mothers have mother-love for their children, but that’s not the same as having a talent for managing children.  In normal societies, there are so many other women around that a mother who has trouble with increasing numbers of children can easily delegate, while women who can seamlessly handle six or eight or ten smoothly can pick up that extra slack for other mothers.

But childcare isn’t something that is bred-in to all women in equal ability if they just try real hard.  Some women have a flair for it even if they never have any children of their own, while other women can bear a dozen and never quite get the hang of things.

This is one of the reasons I advocate domestic skills internships for young conservative women interested in marrying young and administering the home as housewives.  It’s a good way for women to find out which aspects of domestic living are potential weak spots and make plans to adjust their expectations and goals while they are young and still have a lot of energy to do so.

A mother doesn’t love her child the less because she doesn’t change every single diaper. Specialization is a key part of civilization.

Fraud Alert, John Taylor Gatto edition

If you’re going to set up alternative sources of authority, you need to vet them for fraudulence.  John Taylor Gatto is demonstrably set up as a homeschooling authority figure and even when his name isn’t directly mentioned, the boilerplate about the “Prussian system” and “everyone was college-level literate before the evils of public school” shows up in plenty of conservative advocacy of homeschooling. But Gatto’s claims are not vetted, and when they are questioned, the response is that *footnotes are a tool of the man to keep you from going on a heart journey*.  An example of not vetting Gatto is the claims he makes about literacy being higher before compulsory public education by comparing WWI literacy *data* with literacy *reports* from before WWI.  Subjective reports that ranged from being able to compose a complex essay to being able to sign one’s name are not really a useful way to assess historical literacy or compare it to hard data after the World Wars, yet that very digging into the primary sources and trying to get at the heart of things is ostentatiously absent when it comes to Gatto among homeschool advocates. This is part of a larger problem with modern people conservative and liberal alike running screaming from explicit authority, but then becoming ensnared by the allure of false authorities.

It is perfectly traditional to not cook or not cook daily.

It totally is.  The idea that cooking daily is some kind of harkening back to a properly traditional time is itself fairly modern and part of the ongoing conflict between male and female spheres of power.  It’s also a sign of how far removed modern conservatives (and everyone else who promotes daily and often fancy/gourmet cooking) are from the normal life of living in a smallish community where specialization and division of labor were taken seriously *and that included cooking*.

The sandwich lady is still around, and she was around in the early 20th century too.  Also the 19th.  Or the food truck guy.  Whichever, you can go all the way back to fairy tales and folk tales (and, like, historical documentation) and find out that *gasp* the idea that women cook at home and men cook professionally is not consistent with historical reality.  Neither is the idea that individual women cooked all the meals for their individual families.

Cooking has historically been a specialty task, with elements of group work.  And it wasn’t sex-segregated as far as whether it was professional or home cooking.  Women were sometimes professionals and men sometimes did the home cooking.  The divisions were more fluid than is socially acceptable now.  And for all the judging among far too many conservatives of women who don’t cook purely from (fake) “scratch”, it’s also been the norm in history to streamline and utilize convenience and quick foods when possible.  The equivalent of McDonald’s has a long and storied history dating back to the Roman era that I can immediately think of offhand.

This doesn’t mean sitting down to eat delicious food with your family is untraditional, it just means there’s a difference between the various ways that people traditionally dealt with the big job of cooking historically and an imaginary “traditional” family where Mom makes three or four meals a day every single day by herself from completely fresh ingredients and also mysteriously manages the other tasks of the home, plus set up and clean up of each meal.  In reality, this type of cooking precludes even trying to do much else around the house.  Which is why it sure ain’t traditional or a great idea to advocate as some kind of norm (which I am sad to say I have seen among conservative SAHMs).

And not wanting to cook and finding someone else to prepare your meals is TOTALLY TRADITIONAL AND NORMAL, even among historical SAHMs (although they did tend to assist working mothers more often for obvious reasons).

Accept the implications of real community, not community of affinity

Those implications are that it’s not about your social life and only hanging out with people you think are groovy.  It’s about the reality that if you want institutions to persist when unusually charismatic/high energy people are not running them, you have to work with and spend social time with people you would not otherwise be inclined to hang out with.

Interestingly, for all the conservative rhetoric about real community, they are just as interested in only being around people who are “good fits” as everyone else.

Affinity as the primary socialization mechanism is a sign of a degenerated culture.