A Thermodynamic Interpretation of History
PART TWO: The Origin of Women's Oppression
More on Classical Patriarchy, the Problem of "Western Patriarchy", and the Assessment of the Effects of "Male-Domination" on Males
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Copyright © 2005, 2006 by Lawrence C. Chin. All rights reserved.
The foundation of classical patriarchy in the reversal of the sexual selection process, a realistic assessment of the effect of male-domination on males, and the changing nature of noosphere consumption in relation to the changing sexual selection process
Now that we have examined in a preliminary fashion the mechanisms involved in the founding of classical patriarchy in the single case of China, it is perhaps in order to reflect on the nature of the appearance of classical patriarchy across most of Eurasia, as the feminists, who have been more or less the only important voices in the reflection on male-domination, have consistently misled this reflection. As a first step we may consider a recent sober voice (mentioned earlier), Andrew Lehman (Human Evolution: Evolution and the Structure of Health and Disease, Section III, The Origin of Culture ), who focuses especially on the role of sexual selection in the transition of the human species to the extreme male-domination so characteristic of its social mode in known history – showing, again, how females’ mate-selection process laid the very foundation for male-domination later – and whose thinking we may quote in length here. After which, the implications for the contemporary time are clear.
“Spoken language could not suddenly appear without the facilities to communicate symbolically already established in human neurology. Today, if human children are not taught language by puberty, language can not be learned. If early humans did not muddle through language/communication as adults, who taught the children? Yet evidence of culture, often assumed to be evidence of language, did not appear slowly, but suddenly. There is no paradox to be found here if the facilities for symbol and metaphor were already present in another physical, gestural, touch form… and transferred over to spoken language. Bates et. al… has suggested that heterochrony may have created the conditions responsible for spoken language.”
“Humans today, if right handed, are usually lateralized for language use in the left hemisphere. Lefthanded, ambidextrous, and often righthanded people from families with many lefthanded members are described by Norman Geschwind… as anomalously dominant or non-lateralized for language because of the variety of ways that language is processed differently from the ‘standard’ righthanded person.”
“When speech bridged over from non-verbal communication, some practitioners were better at the skill than others. Judging from the correlations of dyslexia and stuttering with non-laterally committed people…, the anomalously dominant, we are calculating that men a little more disposed to use of a single hemisphere had an easier time picking up the skill of spoken language. It has been estimated that the central location of the tongue and larynx puts at a disadvantage persons requiring both hemispheres for coordination of these mid-line organs…. As women had picked men as procreative partners based on their talent at song and dance, we estimate women now picked men for their talent at this new marvel, speech, because of its ability to evoke feelings-of-something-larger-than-the-self. We hypothesize that women must have picked men for this skill because today, men are more laterally committed than women…. Males are predominantly committed to a single hemisphere because speech, once it showed evidence of its utility, became a highly selected-for trait. After song had primed the speaking apparatus to be ready for the spoken word, spoken language itself was more successfully executed by males with a tendency to use a single hemisphere for language….”
“A hidden minority of people manifests itself in every culture of the world today occupying a fairly consistent percentage of the local population, around 18.5% to 35%… based on some lateralization studies. This population is composed of the anomalously dominant, whom we know most familiarly as the lefthanded or ambidextrous person. These individuals and their families are not strongly predicated toward use of the left hemisphere for language, and they share the same strengths (creativity, associational or holistic thinking, musical composition, visuospatial abilities) and weaknesses (dyslexia, autism and stuttering…). Shift theory suggests that these are the genetic remnants of pre-language culture; the musical composers, musicians…, artists…, architects, dancers, and people in the creative arts. There is data that suggests that a high percentage of homosexuals come from this genetic pool…. Some manic-depressives…, many schizophrenics…, a specific class of alcoholics…, and people inclined toward promiscuous sex often fit into this group. Many obese females share these characteristics. According to shift theory, these peoples preceded the appearance of the strongly lateralized right handed individuals that we are most familiar with today. A number of cultures evidence features associated with our pre-speech-more-neotenous genetic type such as the Eskimos or Inuit, the Polynesian, several African cultures and possibly continental pre-Indo-European cultures like the Irish and the Basque.”
“The influence of split-consciousness, what we usually call the conscious mind, suddenly appeared insinuating itself into the fabric of the community, a community centered around the women. This new way of thinking, characterized by an increased dissociation from its feeling base, was practiced by males, males picked by women for their facility at speech and for a brand new ability, the ability to plan. Time had been invented. These new males identified less and less with the characteristics of what we now call the unconscious. They were learning to identify with words. Perhaps, if their words were less committed to a single hemisphere, like those of their women, they would not have ended up drifting so far from the sensual reality that the words themselves represented. But the words, these new symbols, were mostly processed in one hemisphere, the left hemisphere, associated with rhythm, the element of song and sound most similar to the spoken symbol. The most effective utilizers of these symbols, the ones best at attaining specific goals, were the males who could line the words up making the words create a future and a past, a here and a somewhere else. [The beginning of narration: myth.] They could rip the world into little pieces and by naming and isolating things and the separate actions that those things did. The left hemisphere is better at rhythm, simultaneity, temporal order, duration and timing…. Having mapped their experience through these modalities and the sense of sound, time was funnelled into a narrative frame of reference. Language was not in the body anymore. One did not dance it, gesture it, feel it. Language was now something very strange. It was abstract. And it controlled time.”
We have seen that the long distance logistic hunt which women's sex strike has caused into being is based on, and requires, this time which the narrative or mythic, i.e. story-telling, language engenders. By selecting males with greater linguistic ability and a better grasp of time, women were trying to bring into being a new, far more productive, type of hunter.
“It is important to note that the practitioners of the new art of spoken language had smaller corpus callosums, the tissue bridge between the two hemispheres, than either women or anomalously dominant males. This is consistent with corpus callosum studies of contemporary humans... This smaller physical structure when coupled with the effects engendered by the identification with language decreased the communication between hemispheres, creating a lag in the time it takes to get messages from one side to the other, further isolating the hemispheres from one another. The additional hemispheric differentiation increased the time dissociation skills creating an even better ability to plan, to isolate goals. If smaller corpus callosums increased dissociation skills, sexual selection would have further selected for males with smaller corpus callosums.”
“What had begun with the female in non-human species picking mates based on slight differences in an established norm, evolved to the human female picking her mate based on slight symbolic differences in a spoken norm. There was still the dancing and singing, but ritual was becoming subsumed by myth. Myth and ritual were not identical anymore as they had to have been when message and medium were the same. Myth could be separate. There could be legends now. There could be folk tales. There could be lies.”
“At first the effects of language were subtle, but with time its effects became more invasive as split-consciousness began the breakdown of the sexual selection/neoteny feedback loop. The appearance of the ‘conscious’ mind, split-consciousness, made for greater difficulty in identifying with that-which-is-larger-than-the-self. In a sense, females helped create an environment capable of spawning patriarchal culture by selecting highly lateralized men for their skill in spoken symbolic language. The portion of the selection process emphasizing agility, endurance, and sound was beginning to recede. Neurologically, it could be suggested that because rhythm is a left hemispheric operation, sharing space with language processing, the growth in language skills took away from the ability to excel in dance and song by gumming up the rhythm with words.”
“In the evolving culture of spoken language females are not now the sole arbiters of time as they had been with their menstrual cycles connecting the tribe with the cycles of the sky…. With language, even though right handed men are not as skilled with associational language as women, men can now control time. In fact, right handed males are far better at skills involving organization within time than either anomalously dominant males or females.”
“At the point when humans began to pour out of Africa to populate the world, the breakdown was fully under way. The similarity in myths from around the planet suggests that the loss of non-spoken language occurred before those peoples diffused. The fact that a fairly consistent percentage of most populations are left handed suggests this too. The ability to diffuse so quickly to so many different, formerly unfamiliar, habitats indicates facility with spoken symbol had already been established.” In other words, survivability was enhanced by better communication and a better notion of time, and, most importantly, by the more productive, long distance logistic hunt that they facilitated.
“The human female determines in culture, just as females often do in biology, the direction of evolution. Sociobiology suggests that the forces of biological evolution are identical to the forces of cultural change.” We do not agree with such view: once the biological foundation for culture was laid down (such as the neurological mechanism for language), cultural evolution proceeded in fact according to its own internal momentum, i.e., independently of biological change or non-change. “Shift theory agrees, but places the leverage of these changes in the body of the female arbitrated by her choice in mates and the changes in her body during pregnancy. Sexual selection, heterochrony (including neoteny and acceleration), and zygote and uterine selection join the sociobiological focus on natural selection as the forces that guide cultural change.”
“Another way to understand the transition to language facility from pure song and dance, to patrifocal from matrifocal societal structures, is by examining the hormonal constellations reinforced by the choices females were making in their mates and the relationship between relative levels of testosterone with specific cerebral lateralization constellations.”
“Between 100,000 and 40,000 years ago, [mating process is] females… picking males… with the feature of being able to organize words linearly in time, to communicate not only in symbol, but in sign. (Symbol makes connections through association; sign forms connections through representation. Sign is more removed than symbol from sensual experience affording greater powers of concept manipulation.) We hypothesize that males with this characteristic had, and have, higher T. Males with this characteristic would retain enhanced abilities to hunt and organize events sequentially. In other words, females began picking males for characteristics that evidenced the opposite hormonal constellation than they had been for the previous two million years. Social structure shifted from matrifocal to patrifocal, from promiscuous social structures to polygynous and monogamous constellations. [Classical patriarchy was to tremendously magnify the former, polygynous strand within its ‘head,’ i.e. among the priestly-ruling aristocrats.] With the advent of patriarchal culture, starting at the earliest 40,000 years ago [but becoming full-blown, as seen, only around 5,000 years ago], a radical change occurred in the evolutionary trajectories of human beings. There was a shift in the sexual selection process. Increasingly higher T males began choosing their procreative partners [instead of the other way round, as these males established themselves as the ‘head’ of the supraorganism:] choosing females for their docility, cooperativeness… and a predilection to live within polygynous or monogamous social structures.”
We have noted earlier that Chris Knight’s sex-strike model predicts that matrilineality predates patrilineality, and also that the beginning sexual selection process where females select males (“prostitutes” select men according to the “earning” they can contribute) is associated with matrilineality and the later reversed process (males selecting females according to her slavish character), with patrilineality (: the triumph of the “customers” over the “pimps-prostitutes”). The reversal of sexual selection process that Lehman postulates here would thus probably coincide with the beginning intensive phase of hunting-gathering subsistence mode in certain ecological environments. And it should finally be remembered that this sexual selection by males in a patrilineal system, in correlation with the greater development of territoriality in each of the two intensive phases, is associated also with the formation of an interaction sphere.
Lehman continues: “Higher T males, at this point in our evolution, evidenced increasingly asymmetrical brain lateralization. [Was their greater shamanistic charisma a function of this?] Geschwind and Galaburda (1987) hypothesize that testosterone is the primary agent responsible for variations in cerebral lateralization. The timing of the relative levels of T is vitally important to understanding variations in language facility. The absence of light has an effect on the pineal gland which results in a diminution of T production…. Most people in temperate zones have lowered T in winter and raised T in summer. It is hypothesized that this pattern was established in equatorial regions according to the diurnal cycle... Changes in migration patterns away from equatorial regions, perhaps to southern Africa or into the Eurasian continent, could have placed humans at a latitude where symmetrical brains became more lateralized as a result of the changes in light and its influence on the pineal gland which regulates testosterone. Seasonal fluctuations in light hypothetically also caused asymmetrical cerebral lateralization at conception and during gestation (zygote & uterine selection) if male T is high at the point of sperm production or if female T is low during the phase of gestation when developmental rates for the fetus are set. The evolution of language from symbol to sign was occurring during the same period. The increased lateralization made further dissociation more likely which made possible the transition into sign, and the split consciousness we identify as ‘thought.’ Other potential triggers to increased lateralization could have included dietary changes or ceremonial natural inebriants.”
“For the first two million years of hominid evolution males and females had developed an increasingly androgynous…, promiscuous dance and song driven culture…. When a fully linear language appeared, female and male evolutionary trajectories diverged. There was a further shift to an aggressive male, high T frame of reference enforced by patriarchal societal criteria in sexual selection. In this emerging polygynous culture males chose females for their low T docility and for those characteristics evidencing high fertility. Females that looked and acted young were more likely to be chosen to have progeny. Males now choose females for their neotenic features….”
“It is in a patriarchal context that much of the sociobiological… and evolutionary psychological… criteria for natural and sexual selection in humans makes sense. Patriarchal society could control the kind of male that would have the opportunity to procreate. Female infanticide is patriarchal culture’s method for keeping only high T males in the procreation pool. In polygynous society engaging in female infanticide there are far fewer females than males to mate. Many males go mateless, specifically the males considered least desirable as husbands by the fathers of the females to be married.” In a full-blown classical patriarchy, these are the lower-caste males.
“Shift theory suggests that female infanticide, the culturally encouraged killing of female infants, is one of the manifestations of sexual selection in a cultural context. Female infanticide can now be understood as a form of cultural preservation. By decreasing the number of women to less than the number of available men, the more specific the features that can be chosen for in the character and genes of the males by the females; the more culturally rigid, both in terms of cultural ideas and the genetic pool, the culture will continue to be. A culture keeps tight control of its degree of diffusion or drift by maintaining a relatively small female/male ratio. This results in a dramatic shift toward a selection of highly specific traits when the culture calculates that new traits are needed. As culture started to idealize war, the families of those women or their fathers chose a mate based on success-in-war criteria. Female infanticide decreased the number of men likely to create progeny, [thus] increasing the likelihood that the warlike criteria would be passed on to the next generation.”
“In a culture where male aggressive behavior is highly valued, as in the Yanomamo of South America, female infanticide can be understood as the process that the culture uses to select only those males displaying maximal aggression in social relations. Mothers often kill their female infants. Female/male ratios approach 100:140 at puberty in many tribes…. Male heads of household control whom young females will mate with. All females are mated…. Aggression becomes highly reinforced as a male trait when males not succeeding at fulfilling the highly valued cultural criteria of displays of aggression, or not a member of a family with high status as a result of successful use of aggression, do not become mated. Females are at the center of this process of cultural stability and change, in three ways: female infanticide, mate selection (males taking control of this aspect in most cultures), and whether females choose to commit adultery. Only one in ten births in the Yanomamo are a result of extramarital involvements…, a very low number. (By comparison, in England this century, a 20% ratio of extramarital births has been discovered in working class and middle class neighborhoods.)…”
“The net result of these shifts is that the hormonal trajectories over the last 40,000 to 100,000 years will reflect an increasing developmental delay in females characterized by decreasing T. At the same time males show evidence of developmental acceleration with increasing T.”
This characterizes the period of, or rather leading up to and culminating in, the Eurasian classical patriarchies -- or societies with the stereotypical extreme male-domination universally associated with the famous civilizations. They are typically ritualized warrior cultures, with priests (or the functionally similar scholars/ philosophers) and warriors being the most valued castes in society. As we have said, war and social hierarchy are the function of the interaction sphere (intergroup competition). Therefore, the sexual selection process just described, favoring high T males with either greater linguistic ability (needed more and more in rituals, among the priestly caste) or warrior aggression and bravery (needed among the warrior caste) and which began to take shape starting around 40,000 years ago, indicated that the human context of intergroup competition had increasingly replaced the natural ecological environment as the medium in which human life took place. We can also now make a realistic assessment, independent of the feminist ideologues, as to how good "male-domination" has actually been for males. From the above -- and from our analysis so far of the structure of classical patriarchy -- it can be seen that the classical patriarchal mode (the mode of extreme male-domination) creates a highly stressful environment and makes life far more difficult and miserable for most males living in it. It is, as indicated, really just a system whereby a minority of males, by virtue of their warrior capacity or shamanic talent (or descent from forefathers with such capacity and talent), are able to increase their happiness (measured in consumption, influence, and mating pleasures) and reproductive success at the expense of not only women, but of the males below them. Most of the males in such situation are under constant and life-long pressure to prove their virility such as on the battlefield (or their shamanic talent), which tends to shorten their life-span as well. If they lose out on the trial and survive, they will have to endure the misery of matelessness for life and are likely to continue to be exploited by upper caste males for labor. As the polygamy of the upper caste males combines with female infanticide to reduce the number of women for mating outside the upper class to virtually not very many, these "sub-males" are in effect marked as "evolution's dead-ends." In the beginning of this process, as the "patriarchal" society remains of small scale (i.e. tribal), it is more like an organized version of the pecking order of non-human primates (e.g. the baboons), in the transcendence of which, as said, consists precisely "the human revolution" (in Knight's words). (We have mentioned that the onset of the classical patriarchal mode correlates with a certain revival of the Cyclopean system.) The pecking order of the baboon society, as we know, in which all males are required to "struggle" upon adulthood, creates a highly stressful situation for most of these males. The dominant males, in their attempt to build up their harem and monopolize the best diet around, constantly threaten the weaker males who have come too close to available females or food stuff, and who consequently have to live with matelessness and poor diet for life. They develop conditions that in the human world are associated with stress, such as ulcer and depression.1 The classical patriarchies of high civilizations can be characterized as those in which the pecking order has become fixed, i.e. where most of the male members (not necessarily the females) are permanently fixed at their stations and can no longer move up through struggle (the caste society). After the classical patriarchies, the "free societies" of nation-states -- i.e. where kinship network has been diminished to the minimum through atomization and the individuals have become "free-floating" -- have further returned to the state of a pecking order reminiscent of that of the primate society than ever before. The constant struggles required of males to obtain mates -- and in contemporary time the sexual selection process has more or less everywhere reverted back to females picking males, such that a male not only has to fight off other males but also to please the female -- and life-necessities in patriarchal context, which mean greater inter-male violences, are the factor responsible for the correlation that the greater the degree of "male-domination" or "male-centeredness" or male-machismo (e.g. Russia, Brazil, the Latin countries) the shorter the life-span, the lower the living standard, and the greater the miseries, of the majority of the male population. In all cases, females, since they are just passive objects to be appropriated (the trophies at the end of inter-male competitions), are able to retain a certain level of living standard and live out their natural life-span. (In the urban jungle of contemporary societies where they have full property rights, females thus fare better than males in general.)2 Thus, "patriarchy" (from Yanomamo through ancient China to the contemporary machismo societies) really isn't in the interest of most males, but only of "alpha males", and, except for the male-dominated society of (ideal) formative nation-states, simply isn't the sort of patriarchy of which the radical feminists have conceived, a system where the whole class of men dominate the whole class of women. To consider "patriarchy" (whether classical or the contemporary "machismo" societies) something most males have an interest in maintaining is irrational; even if the greater inter-male violences are considered the price to pay for power, it should be noted that most males pay the price without obtaining the reward (i.e. power, to be on top).3 "Patriarchy" in general is just an elitist hierarchical system ("pecking order") which is mis-conceived as "beneficial to males" (what feminists have socialized us to think "male-domination" means) because the minority of elites are always males. So, from now on, when we speak of "male-domination", we shall bear in mind that the usual situation being referred to is a pecking order dominated by alpha males at the expense of everyone else -- but especially of other ("subordinate") males -- thus eliminating the connotation of "beneficial to males" from the correlation that feminists always notice between "male-domination" and "hierarchy." Other than elite males' interests, the "reason of patriarchy" is the exigency of supraorganismic formation (the second stage of which is based on "exploitation" due to insufficient technology in communication and human discipline, thus replicating a pronounced form of hierarchy or pecking order) under the pressure of intergroup competition and, ultimately, of thermodynamic debt-paying; and, in the case of machismo societies, they are that way simply because they are less integrated, more chaotic internally, and less consumerized, that is, because they are supraorganismic failures, such that order breaks down in them and so "dog-eat-dog" becomes the rule. What appears to be a male-favoring patriarchal practice -- like the female infanticide of Yanomamo and in China today -- does actually more harm to males than to females: as, among the new generation of Chinese, males out-number females by 30 million, and as the richer males still practice polygyny in the dark, a great many males will have to face the fate of lonely bachelors. Most males in fact, if they are rational, will consider it in their interest to overcome the self-interest based, Cyclopean oriented, "patriarchal" pecking order and to institute a system in which all males work together as a group to court all females as a group -- which was what "the human revolution" was about, according to Knight: and that under women's instigation. And this is Knight's revolutionary wish as a feminist. (We'll finish this discussion in Conclusion.)
But, as said, contemporary feminism is not about that. Here we come to the second point, which concerns the changing nature of noosphere consumption in response to each of the reversals of sexual selection. (And a strange question will be answered here: Why philosophers could get plenty of laid in traditional societies but can't in postmodern societies.) After the above, Lehman errs in subscribing to the dominant consumerist ideology of contemporary time and celebrating the deceptive freedom-love sexual selection mode of American (white) females which doesn’t quite exist at the level of substance. With regard to our purpose Lehman’s scenario strikes us as a realistic explanation of how males have developed a propensity for abstract thinking and how females have at least become less motivated to engage in the abstract realm of reality (thus appearing “stupid,” to use the traditional male chauvinistic jargon). In the beginning females favor males with such propensity because at this beginning stage of abstract thought (the beginning era of the noosphere) the sole function of such abstraction consists in facilitating the manipulative engagement with the biospheric environment (i.e. planned, long-range organized hunt). In addition, as the world-view at this time (the formative functional perspective, as we shall understand later in “A Genealogy of Primitive Religions”) necessarily involves a spiritual reality (of spirits, gods, and the ancestral ghosts) immanent in the biospheric environment, the budding pursuit for the spiritual meaning of life (the quest for truth about reality), as said, remains compacted with this ease in the manipulative engagement with the environment for the sake of increasing consumption, i.e. with the pursuit for the material meaning of life. (The [male] religious life of the Inuits and the Algonquians, for example, revolves all around the hunting of caribou.) As beings devoted entirely to the attainment of consumption without pursuit (“prostitution,” the essence of Knight's theory) due, perhaps, to the pressure of infant encephalization, females in the beginning inadvertently also bring into being the human potential for the spiritual meaning of life (i.e. abstract thought, or “split-consciousness”) when selecting as mates those most capable of the satisfaction or fulfillment of the material meaning of life (i.e. of the female appetite). When, within the context of the compactness between the pursuit for the spiritual meaning of life and that for the material, the satisfaction of mere biospheric appetite (of the material meaning of life) gets taken up (aufgehoben), through its influence, permeation, and sublimation by abstract thought, to the satisfaction of the desire for noospheric consumption (for ritual art objects and monuments), though females would naturally still select as mates men of the abstract type (i.e. imbued with spiritual quality or “charisma” and, because of this, capable of satisfying their appetite), these men start reversing the sexual selection process with the very authority for which they would be selected by females in the first place: the beginning of “patriarchy.” They then attempt to increase this authority (now amounting to also an authority in sexual selection) even further through trade and war (i.e. through the formation of an interaction sphere) – again with this very authority. Warrior ability is now added to spiritual charisma (indexed by noospheric consumption) and satisfaction of (biospheric) appetite as the third factor in “male attractiveness.” The classical patriarchal mode – a polygynous elitist warrior and highly ritualized society practicing female infanticide – is then fully instituted. The male elites' initiation of the interaction sphere in the attempt to expand their noosphere consumption is the flip side of the reversal of the sexual selection process. Paradoxically female consumption is actually curbed within such patriarchal mode, only the females of the aristocratic class maintaining a comfortable level of living standard but only at the price of confinement and lack of liberty to “ask for more.” (The positive effect of male-domination – or male-determined sexual selection – is thus the curtailment of female consumption.) As the classical patriarchal mode, such as the Chinese, turns imperial, and the pursuit of the spiritual meaning of life becomes integrated not just with consumption as during tribal times but also with the head-function of a large-size supraorganism (e.g. Confucian “philosophy” as the governing principle for the political management of the state; in other contexts highly developed institutionalized “religion” serves this function), the new forms this pursuit of the spiritual meaning of life assumes (“philosophy” and “religion”) remain the principal factors of “male attractiveness”: thus a loyal Chinese wife of imperial times encourages her husband to study the classics intensively so that he may succeed in the state examination. Hence even within this late or developed classical patriarchal mode the aristocratic males are able to pursue the spiritual and the material meaning of life (including both consumption and reproduction) all at once. As power (supraorganismic integration and metabolism) becomes more advanced, however, it goes “practical” and “technical” (i.e. bureaucratic or mechanized) and so sheds the henceforth un-necessary spiritual pursuit within which aims at building the character of the rulers and not at producing a mechanized “cog.” (The last Chinese dynasty, for example, finally abandoned in 1905 the traditional Confucian examination system for the selection of governmental officials and adopted the Western training system of “bureaucrats.”) The ability for abstract spiritual pursuit is now expelled from “male attractiveness.” The new mode of power, or supraorganismic integration and metabolism, also “emancipates” women, reverses the sexual selection process once again to the beginning mode (nowadays females select males in Western or Westernized societies just as in the beginning), and liberates their ability to “ask for more.” This last liberation of the female consumption habit, because of the female non-interest in abstraction, has the effect of divesting noospheric consumption of “truth-function” (i.e. of the religious and philosophic dimensions aiming at the discovery of the truth about reality) and transforming it into the pure dissipative mode so that it becomes the consumption and disposal of luxury housings, shiny automobiles, pleasant-looking and comfort-feeling household products, and absorption and forgetting (dissipation) of short-range concrete reality-oriented information (e.g. romance novels and films)4. The traditional objects of aristocratic consumption, imbued with religious and spiritual meanings, are now reconstituted as pure “substitute food.” (Note the interesting phenomenon occurring again and again in history, that the “means” for an “end” has the tendency to become an “end in itself”, severing all ties with the end for which it used to be the means: hence while women in the beginning want meat from their mates as a means to provisioning encephalized babies, today women want consumer products from their mates simply for their own pleasure of consumption – none of the previously listed are desired in order to raise slow-maturing, big-brain babies. Or, originally women desired “responsible” men --having a stable job, materially secure -- because of these encephalized babies or because they couldn’t work; but now, in these days of gender equality, when women can earn just as much money as men can at a normal job, and when women can earn several times more by selling their body, they still like “responsible” men, not because they need financial support, but simply because these men appeal to their senses, like being handsome. The means, although coming into being on account of some other ends, once complexified, takes off and develops its own trajectory independent of those ends.) The second reversal of the sexual selection process back to its original mode also increases the destruction of the planet as females no longer select as they would have before males of philosophic and religious ability who are environmentally conservative, but “bureaucrats” (in the political sphere) or “technocrats” (in the business world) who are far able to bring home, not just the bacon, but automobiles and consumer products – thereby, moreover, reinforcing the environmentally un-friendly behavior among males of the technocratic and corporate world, not to mention their own adoption of this behavior as encouraged by vulgar feminism. (The general decrease in human intelligence, wisdom, and individuality is another consequence of this.) Thus the modern situation replicates the previous environmental degradation brought about by women's sex-strike, except that this time the destruction is of a much larger scale, affecting not just the survival of particular animal species but the entire planet. And, nowadays “philosophers” and “spiritual gurus” dwell on the fringes of society, living off welfare and family charity, or perpetuating themselves in philosophy departments at universities (which are just better versions of the state-welfare system). While the traditional masculine noosphere consumption only exhausts the peripheral portions of the biospheric and geospheric environment (minerals for “art-making” and some trees used to build palaces), the contemporary feminized or consumerized noosphere consumption is in the process of destroying the entire biospheric background of our noosphere existence, to the point of whole-scale de-oxygenization of the atmosphere. While the male capitalists create the industrial and corporate infrastructure for feeding this feminized noosphere consumption, the feminists arise as their allies in covering up the destructive effect of feminized consumption through the mechanism called “cultural (gender, difference) feminism.”
The contrast between classical patriarchy and the (ideal) nation-state “patriarchy” of the feminists, especially in respect to the potentiality of a “liberation of women”
We now need to continue, with a case study, the discussion as to the real socio-structural nature of classical patriarchy, over which the feminist discourse has generated such confusion. For this end we use John Lie’s “From Agrarian Patriarchy to Patriarchal Capitalism: Gendered Capitalist Industrialization in Korea” in Patriarchy and Economic Development (Clarendon Press, 1996), which employs for its specific example Korea and not China, but the analytical model he presents easily describes China of imperial times (i.e. after the Three Dynasties Period) as well, or even other classical patriarchies such as the Islamic. After this the contrast between classical patriarchy and “Western patriarchy” will be made visible by a consideration of the transition from one to the other in the peripheral regions of the world-system, and then the anomaly of the case of the latter will become clear. “Agrarian patriarchy comprises macro-structural distinctions and contradictions between landlords and peasants, and micro-structural domination of the patriarch over his household. At neither level is gender socially significant; other social divisions and categories render gender oppression largely invisible and ineffective as a source of identity and mobilization. In other words, gender is embedded and subsumed in the fabric of social life” (p. 35). The hierarchy of multiple social divisions (“classes” or “castes” in a stabilized pecking order), in each of which gender division constitutes merely a subdivision, makes up the essence of classical patriarchy; and it is this hierarchization which confuses any clear-cut articulation of gender relations in terms of domination and subordination and prevents an un-ambiguous categorical, global assessment concerning gender relation (“all men dominate all women”) such as the radical feminists like to make with regard to the society of a formative nation-state, since the women of the aristocratic class exercise decisive domination over the men of the lower class, although male-domination may always hold more or less within each single major social division: “In elite households, the patriarch rules over the household – the domination is exercised not only over women (wives and daughters), but over generation (children), and status (servants)” (ibid.). This refers to the fact that different “classes” might be physically (spatially) embedded in one another, as members of the lower class might dwell within the aristocratic households as servants. “The distinction can be expressed as ‘autonomous’ patriarchs versus ‘dependent’ non-patriarchs, including women, children, and non-elite men. Patriarchs dominate in relations between households and prevent non-patriarchs (including women) from participating in the public sphere (a concourse of household heads). In this context, elite women’s status is mediated by and conjoined in patriarchal rule. Gender is embedded and enmeshed in other social relations and structures” (ibid., emphasis added). Such immersion of the category of gender within the category of class has the effect that “[a]lthough women are barred from public life and ideologically denigrated, their structural position prevents their organization as gendered subjects. The patriarchal domination of the public sphere circumscribes women’s relations and associations outside of, while age gradations and status distinctions bar women’s solidarity within, the household. It is of course true that there exists vast inequality between elite men and elite women, but the potential gender struggle does not become the major social dynamic of agrarian patriarchy” (ibid.). The problem which we earlier saw Simone de Beauvoir identify within the context of the formative nation-state, the dispersion and so dis-unity of the female sex (Ch. 4, “The Problem of Cultural Feminism”), is vastly magnified within the context of classical, or agrarian, patriarchy.
To shift our attention from the aristocratic class to the lower class: “In peasant households, the material conditions of agricultural production, which remains near the subsistence level, force both women and men to work. As with elite women, peasant women endure considerable oppression, working harder and longer than men in general.” Note as we have however that in such saturated agrarian economy as the imperial Chinese main ethnic communities, footbinding destroys much of women’s ability to work. “Women’s obvious and necessary contribution to material sustenance, however, prevents patriarchal ideology from fully penetrating peasant life.” We see again here that the feminist rhetoric, especially of the second wave (starting with Friedan) – that concern with the “need to work” – is just call for the mobilization of middle-class (white) women for production in higher level service industries. Any feminist rhetoric coming from the lower class, and from the lower class of traditional agrarian society, would be quite different than the “feminist theories” we hear of. “The patriarchal ideology is strongest in the public sphere, where elite control penetrates, and among those who emulate agrarian elites. Indeed, it is often in the cross-status difference in women’s position that agrarian elites find the proof of their moral superiority and a justification for their rule. Unlike elite women, peasant women have more freedom in forming women’s networks and thus creating a distinct sphere. However, their collective mobilization does not occur as gendered subjects, but rather as members of the household or the village community. The gender category is not historically dynamic since the basis of collective mobilization tends to rest on household rivalries or intercommunal conflicts” (p. 35 – 6; emphasis added). This is the effect of the hierarchization and decentralization (the supraorganism as merely a loose collection of centrifugal local lords and communities) of the classical or agrarian patriarchy. We will see below then how much “women’s liberation movement” depends on the structure of the modern nation-state – not just because of the latter’s need to mobilize but also because of its attempted centralization and consequent leveling of the population.
“To summarize, gender is subsumed in agrarian patriarchy. Gender-based organizing or consciousness is virtually absent; proto-feminist tracts or women’s movements are far and few between in agrarian patriarchy. Polemically put, gender is not a useful category of analysis in understanding the historical dynamic of agrarian societies” (p. 36). This fact, a function of social hierarchization and decentralization, makes the classical patriarchy most inertial and resistant to any “liberation of women” (at least from within itself).
The concrete example which Lie uses of this agrarian (classical) patriarchy is Korea under the Yi or Chosôn Dynasty from the late fourteenth to early twentieth century. (The Koryo period preceding it is less or not-yet developed in the classical patriarchal mode, as there “matrilocality reigned and women had some ‘rights’, including property ownership”; p. 41.) The Chosôn Dynasty society “was a quasi-caste system dominated by landlords (yangban), who maintained their privilege through the lineage system [as we see here again]; patrilineality, patrilocality, and primogeniture reigned…. In the patriarchal household of landed oligarchs, the status of yangban women was extremely low. As filial daughter, obedient wife, and wise mother, women’s prescribed roles were inextricably intertwined with maintaining and reproducing the lineage system. Neo-Confucianism justified the subservience and inferiority of women, who were systematically excluded from political and economic life. For instance, women were not allowed to own property or appear in public without a veil; they were legally not responsible for their own actions (and hence could not stand trial). As Bird… observed of late nineteenth-century Korea: ‘Absolute seclusion [of women] is the inflexible rule among the upper classes.’ In yangban households, men and women lived separately in outer and inner chambers, respectively, with different closets and bathrooms. Their social intercourse was largely proscribed….” The absolute stability of the classical patriarchal system is guaranteed since “[a]n awareness of oppression can only be articulated socially; consciousness raising is wellnigh impossible for isolated individuals socialized into the ways of the status quo. Compounded by widespread illiteracy, yangban women failed to articulate proto-feminist ideology or to create women’s organizations. Their relations with other women of their rank, for example, were limited; they could not build ‘bonds’ that are instrumental in producing proto-feminist consciousness and organization…. Clear and deep social divisions – age gradations and status distinctions – separated women within the patriarchal household. Devoid of women’s networks and informal associations, they became aligned with the major fault line of the larger society: yangban control over the vast majority of peasants” (p. 42 – 3). This is the typical stance as well of the women of the aristocratic class in China from the Three Dynasties Period down to the end of the imperial time in the early twentieth century.
On the other hand, “[p]ersistent poverty characterized peasant life in Yi Dynasty Korea…. Unlike the rigid hierarchy of yangban life, broadly egalitarian, communal practices existed in peasant life…. The Neo-Confucian patriarchal ideology penetrated peasantry slowly, albeit steadily, throughout the Yi Dynasty period…. As Brandt noted in his ethnography of a ‘traditional’ village: ‘Male superiority is asserted in proportion to the formality of the situation.’ Given the necessity of female labour in farm households, however, the ideological devaluation could not fully penetrate peasant life…. This is not to deny that men dominated or that, because peasant women lived in less patriarchally oppressive households, their lives were in any way ‘better’ than those of yangban women….” The excessive abundance of male labor power among Chinese peasants, on the other hand, caused them to imitate the aristocrats in imposing footbinding on their women. But certain fringe ethnic Chinese minorities, such as the Hakkas, who had to dwell in the southern mountainous areas along with other hostile pre-Chinese (Austro-Asiatic) indigenous tribes, never adopted footbinding, evidently because they could not afford the destruction of female labor power. “Furthermore, peasant women could not mobilize themselves qua women. Their social relations were deeply enmeshed in their household and community. Hence, to the extent that they became mobilized, they did so to resist local elites or political authorities…. Nonetheless, unlike yangban women, peasant women created a distinct women’s sphere in contradistinction to the male sphere pervaded by Confucianism…. One example is the persistence of shamanistic rituals, which were almost exclusively ‘female’…. The absence of women’s organization and consciousness characterizes agrarian patriarchy…. In spite of isolation and deprivation, elite women shared their relative privilege with yangban men, not their relative deprivation as women. On the other hand, peasant households were only partially infiltrated by dominant patriarchal ideology. Indeed, the differential subjugation of women was a major criterion of status distinction” (p. 42 - 3).
In the third world Asian countries of the Pacific Rim – Lie’s focus is of course the South Korean society – the transition happens rather suddenly from classical, agrarian patriarchy to what Lie designates as “patriarchal capitalism” – which is really just the mode of formative nation-state but in the peripheral regions of the interactional network of nation-states, with classical capitalism as its metabolic mode, i.e., capitalism in its production phase. Such sudden transition of course is in complete contrast to the process in the West, which, as the region where nation-states grew out “naturally,” has never had a strong tradition of classical, change-resistant agrarian patriarchy. “Peripheral industrialization” (Lie’s designation for the initiation of production-capitalism in the peripheral formative nation-states) began in the Pacific Rim, as mentioned, as capitalism in the center regions shifted into its consumption phase so that the corporations there moved into the peripheral regions, found cheaper labor to manufacture cheap consumer products so as to increase consumption at home, and induced production-based industrialization in these peripheral regions in the process. During this process in the peripheral regions “production becomes severed from the household, [and] the line between work and family life separates” (p. 37): in other words, the break-down of all the elements of classical patriarchy (the extended family; the non-differentiation between the private and the public sphere, at least among the peasant class; and hierarchy and decentralization) and their replacement by all the elements of formative nation-state: monogamous “gender-segregated nuclear households”; sharp differentiation between the private domestic and the public sphere of production and the strict sexual division of labor attendant upon it (almost all females to the private and all males to the public sphere); centralization and the leveling of classes which, in the context of the strict sexual division of labor so characteristic of formative capitalism, incidentally allow for “male workers’ resistance and organization” (ibid.). When females do participate in the public labor market, they are marked as even cheaper labor than males with the Aufhebung of agrarian patriarchal gender-values into the new context of strict sexual division of labor: “male workers strive to achieve autonomy and in so doing differentiate themselves from dependents, such as women… Thus, the struggle for male work is often defined in terms of family wage, while women’s work becomes devalued as superfluous, or ‘working for lipstick.’… Hence, working-class men actively participate in destroying one form of patriarchal rule while erecting another, which denigrates female work and workers” (p. 37 – 8): really, this is the transition of agrarian economy with its classical mode of "male-domination" to classical capitalism with its mode of male-domination which is really just the strict, intensified, and universalized sexual division of labor. In consequence, “the economy becomes increasingly gendered – in effect, the new capitalist economy is ‘male’” (p. 38) since, as we shall make clear repeatedly, the production phase of capitalism necessarily values males for their productivity while the subsequent consumption phase extols females because of their consumptivity. “First, household work becomes the exclusive province of women [strict, intensified, and universalized sexual division of labor]. The process of ‘housewife-zation’ renders domestic duties as women’s work as agrarian patriarchal households transform into nuclear families… Second, many of these women (housewives) work disproportionately in the informal sector, which is also defined as not ‘real’ work… The penetration of the core occurs in a variety of forms, ranging from military base to tourism, which also accelerates the greater gender exploitation to satisfy the male desires from within and without [this element of course does not appear in the capitalist nation-states in the center regions during their formative, production phase]… Finally, the capitalist economy destroys traditional economic organizations, such as women’s trading networks. In short, men work while women do not, at least not in the ‘real’ economy…. In summary, gender becomes a central axis of labour differentiation in peripheral industrialization” – but actually also in the formative capitalistically industrialized nation-states in the center regions – “hence, patriarchal capitalism. Loosened from their moorings in agrarian patriarchal households, women engage in devalued, ‘female’ labour in the new gender-segregated household and economy. Therein lies a major cause of women’s lowered status and marginalization in the early stages of industrialization” (p. 38 - 9). This new type of devaluation of the female in the early stages of peripheral industrialization of course corresponds more closely to the female situation among the lower-classes in the center nation-states in their formative stages of industrialization than to the middle- and upper-classes there.
We have said earlier that the Western “patriarchy” with which the feminist theorists are primarily concerned is simply a transitional state toward a society of sexual equality, and that it prepares for the “liberation of women” by virtue of its very structure, i.e. precisely because the nation-state has to expose gender categories as the most conspicuous social divisions in order to maintain the strict sexual division of labor that it needs and which it has recovered from early tribal times. Lie is simply making the same point in the case of peripheral, rather than central, industrialization, so that what he says there applies more or less as well in the case of formative nation-states of the West: “… peripheral industrialization entails ‘gender’ as a distinct axis of oppression. Whereas gender was embedded in other power relations and structures in agrarian patriarchy, gender emerges as a distinct locus of oppression in the course of peripheral industrialization – patriarchal capitalism. In agrarian patriarchy, there exists little possibility of women’s political organization or gender consciousness. In patriarchal capitalism, industrialization contributes to the dissolution of agrarian patriarchal households and to a gendered division of labour in the economy and within the household. Paradoxically, the same dynamic creates the conditions for gender emancipation, providing both social and epistemological bases for gender-based politics and consciousness” (p. 34; emphasis added): the formative, male-dominated nation-state must break down by virtue of its very structure as ordained by the Reason of History or (thermodynamically defined) Time, i.e. if its noospheric metabolic mode is to expand into the next level – which it will be able to do all the more easily as the gender-consciousness (“feminism”) that is created by its metabolic mode itself will serve as the very instrument (dispositif) for the mobilization of women as extra producers and consumers to expand noosphere consumption.
Lie describes how this process occurs in the peripheral regions: “Patriarchal capitalism contributes to two structural changes which facilitate women’s liberation. First, the dissolution of agrarian patriarchal households liberates non-patriarchs, including women, from the patriarch’s rule. The ‘rise of the egalitarian family’ – the transformation from agrarian patriarchal (extended) households to modern nuclear families – occurs initially among elite households in industrialized societies and spreads with continuing industrialization.... The process is intimately intertwined with the destruction of agrarian patriarchy’s economic and political base of power. Simultaneously, the public sphere is transformed from a concourse of patriarchs into one of property owners and citizens, in which non-patriarchs increasingly participate ['leveling']. The weakening of kinship ties dissolves the key institutional basis of women’s oppression. Although the new gender division of labour creates the condition for ‘housewife’ and the associated cult of domesticity, it also enables women’s gradual entrance into the public sphere as ‘mothers,’ in the form of voluntary organizations for the care of society…. Indeed, middle-class women play an especially critical role in articulating the new family ideology and the new role for women…. To be sure, their vision as the ‘moral’ guardians of society [like the Victorian middle-class women: now the peripheral formative nation-state of the post WW II era looks more and more like the central formative nation-state of the pre-WW II era] vitiates their role in liberating women of lower classes, different ethnicities, or other societies. Yet, middle-class women organize themselves by asserting their new gender-based ideologies…” (p. 39). While nuclear families, social leveling, and the strict sexual division of labor as the most conspicuous social division of labor – all proper to the formative nation-state – take root in regions of peripheral industrialization as a consequence of “import” of industrialization from the center regions going into the next stage, consumerization, these originally appear in the center regions, i.e., in Western Europe and America, through forces of indigenous social evolutionary dynamics: this then hinges on answering the question already mentioned: why Western Europe has never successfully and fully instituted “classical patriarchy.”
In the case of South Korea, under peripheral industrialization, the mobilization of women among the lower classes for cheap manufacturing happened just as had in the center regions such as Britain and the U.S. during the late 19th and early 20th century, while the universalized sexual division of labor of the formative nation-state patriarchal mode permeated the middle- and upper-classes. “Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, female workers constituted about 30 per cent of the labour force [in Korea]…. However, the crucial factor is that [citing Cho] ‘In major export industries such as textiles, garments, electronics and food processing young women made up over 90 per cent of total production workers in 1980’….” The products of their labor, of course, most likely went to feed the newly liberated women in the center regions. “Female workers’ conditions were dire. In the official sector, they worked longer than men but received less than half of what they earned” (p. 45). “In addition, many female workers suffered sexual harassment and other violence” (p. 46). It seems that the typical American feminist complaints against “patriarchy”, irrelevant in the study of classical patriarchies, can finally apply here – because they are solely based on women’s situation in formative nation-states. The other industries in which lower-class women were mobilized to work were house-keeping and the government-sponsored sex works (for U.S. soldiers and Japanese businessmen especially). All this sounds terrible for now – “patriarchal oppression”! – but keep in mind that, as said, this is temporary, merely the “saving” or “production” phase of the process, and will transit to the “reaping” or “consumption” phase once enough capital is built (“saved”) up at home or the market becomes saturated in the center regions of consumption. Furthermore, “textile factories and related manufacturing industries presented the official, and in many ways, better opportunities for young women. Indeed, the simultaneous liberation from the condition of agrarian poverty and patriarchy and the relative privilege enjoyed vis-à-vis other women account at least in part for their willing incorporation into the capitalist world economy” (p. 46). This is why we said that the formative nation-state patriarchy is really not much of a patriarchy: it is destined by its very dynamics to be short-lived, in contrast to the perennially stable classical patriarchy. While “[i]n the 1960s, the received view in development studies suggested that women’s status will gradually improve with ‘modernization’”, the rise to dominance by the late 1980s of the “female marginalization thesis” – usually traced to Ester Boserup’s Women’s Role in Economic Development (1970) – which stipulates that “the incorporation of women into the capitalist economy has further oppressed women”, is rather perplexing, and most likely a phenomenon of “ideology run-away” (p. 50). Since the 1970s a growing number of South Korean urban middle-class women also “began to participate in the public sphere, roughly replicating the Western experience, albeit in a compressed time frame” (p. 48). At this time South Korean women’s movements became more active. While “middle-class women, influenced by Western ideology and Christianity, organized themselves on middle-class issues like consumption and revision of family law” or male violence, the working class women, now un-moored from classical patriarchy and appearing as autonomous “gendered subjects” for the first time, constituted the most active force in the labor movements and were also engaged in issues such as improvement in state child-care policies (1980s).
This comparison between classical patriarchy and formative nation-state patriarchy (“Western patriarchy”), relying on John Lie’s study which, “rather than engaging in quantitative comparisons of gender inequality or oppression… emphasized the qualitatively distinct nature of gender oppression in the transition from agrarian patriarchy to patriarchal capitalism” (p. 49), allows us to see that gender as a distinct axis of oppression – the foundation of American feminist theories – is only true of the latter, i.e. of a system of male-domination in the process of breaking down. A “real” (stable) patriarchy is where gender remains hidden.5 The typical feminist “tendency to treat ‘gender’ as transhistorical” (p. 50) is the result of an anachronistic projection of formative nation-state patriarchy backward onto all (typologically) preceding male-dominated societies. As Lie concludes:
|By assuming the universal usefulness of gender as a category of analysis, scholars apply it to assess the relative oppression or liberation of women across historical periods and cultures. In so doing, they neglect the historical character of “gender” and miss critical social and epistemological shifts. In other words, rather than arguing about whether women’s status is better or worse in one society or another, it is crucial to historicize not only the changing nature of male dominance and female oppression, but also to understand the ways in which gender is embedded or disembedded within fundamental social relations and structures. It is only through this process that we can assess the historical possibilities of gender emancipation. The imposition of “gender” as a universally useful category misses some of the central dynamics of female oppression and emancipation. (Ibid.)|
The radical feminist conception (all men dominate all women) is an instance of the imposition of gender not only as universal but also as the only category, and is motivated -- anachronism aside -- by a desire for black-and-white simplicity (all men are bad and oppressors, all women are good and victims). This, as we shall see, came from the cultural feminist revival of the Protestant "predestination". Although we have validated to a certain extent such conception as applicable in the case of formative nation-states (in the production phase of industrialization), we must note that, strictly speaking, not even European nation-states of the period 1800 - 1960 can fit this case exactly, for the social leveling involved in nation-state formation and the consequent spread of the middle-class never really eliminated class distinction as the most conspicuous social division in favor of gender; and the multi-racial nation-state of America (1800 - 1960), although in its production phase, looks really like the caste society of classical patriarchy, with gender relations embedded in racial castes as subdivisions therein. The radical feminist conception does not even apply in the place of its origin. Can a middle-class white woman, even today, be said to be subordinate to a black man from the ghetto? Since women’s movement depends on the polarization of gender as the most conspicuous fact of social life, and since the ideal gender-based polarized society is never found, no wonder that feminism in the Western world in general and in America in particular has always been a movement within the middle-class, of white middle-class women against white middle-class men; and elsewhere the feminism of the lower class differs sharply from the feminism of the middle-class. Lie's analysis is therefore not quite complete. (Again, this thread of discussion will be finished in the Conclusion below.)
The problem of “Western patriarchy”: “minor patriarchy”
Now we return to our mystery question concerning the anomalously weak patriarchy of pre-modern Western Europe which paves the way for the rise of modern nation-state and, with that, for the “liberation of women”. We shall coin the term “minor patriarchy” to designate this Western anomalously weak patriarchy. Kevin MacDonald has furnished a summary description of this system (The Culture of Critique, Preface, 2001). As typical of the (racialist) tendency he subscribes to, he attributes the origin of this anomalous system to the special Circumpolar climatic condition.6 “Under ecologically adverse circumstances, adaptations are directed more at coping with the adverse physical environment than at competing with other groups [in a saturated interaction sphere]…, and in such an environment, there would be less pressure for selection for extended kinship networks and highly collectivist groups… such an environment would not support large groups.”
“European groups are part of what Burton et al. (1996) term the North Eurasian and Circumpolar culture area. This culture area derives from hunter-gatherers adapted to cold, ecologically adverse climates. In such climates there is pressure for male provisioning of the family and a tendency toward monogamy because the ecology did not support either polygyny or large groups for an evolutionarily significant period.” In other words, the climatic condition did not favor the evolutionary complexification of social structure as it did in East and South Asia, so that the Western European family structure remained relatively simple and “backward”. “These cultures are characterized by bilateral kinship relationships which recognize both the male and female lines, suggesting a more equal contribution for each sex as would be expected under conditions of monogamy. There is also less emphasis on extended kinship relationships and marriage tends to be exogamous (i.e., outside the kinship group)….”
“The historical evidence shows that Europeans, and especially Northwest Europeans, were relatively quick to abandon extended kinship networks and collectivist social structures when their interests were protected with the rise of strong centralized governments.” Again, the nation-state tends to dissolve extended kinship and family: atomization. “There is indeed a general tendency throughout the world for a decline in extended kinship networks with the rise of central authority…. But in the case of Northwest Europe this tendency quickly gave rise long before the industrial revolution to the unique Western European ‘simple household’ type.” In Lévi-Strauss’ words, the transition from the elementary to the complex kinship structures in Europe during the Renaissance. “The simple household type is based on a single married couple and their children. It contrasts with the joint family structure typical of the rest of Eurasia in which the household consists of two or more related couples, typically brothers and their wives and other members of the extended family [i.e. the extended family of classical patriarchy]….”
“Uniquely in Eurasia, age of first marriage for women was quite high, fluctuating around a mean of about 25 years of age. Age of marriage was flexible, rising in times of scarcity and declining in times of abundance, with the result that there was capital accumulation rather than a constant pressure of population on resources. During economically difficult times, women married late or not at all, whereas in the polygynous societies of the rest of Eurasia, women married early, often as concubines or secondary wives of wealthy men [again, the classical patriarchal mode].”
“Before the industrial revolution, the simple household system was characterized by methods of keeping unmarried young people occupied as servants. It was not just the children of the poor and landless who became servants, but even large, successful farmers sent their children to be servants elsewhere. In the 17th and 18th centuries individuals often took in servants early in their marriage, before their own children could help out, and then passed their children to others when the children were older and there was more than enough help….”
“This suggests a deeply ingrained cultural practice which resulted in a high level of non-kinship based reciprocity. [Hence the weakening of the kinship system.]…. [In this way,] genetic relatedness was less important in Europe and especially in the Nordic areas of Europe. The unique feature of the simple household system was the high percentage of non-relatives. Unlike the rest of Eurasia, the pre-industrial societies of northwestern Europe were not organized around extended kinship relationships, and it is easy to see that they are pre-adapted to the industrial revolution and modern world generally.”
Because of this simple household system “[m]onogamous marriage based on individual consent and conjugal affection quickly replaced marriage based on kinship and family strategizing. ([Thus] the greater proneness of Western Europeans to monogamy and to marriage based on companionship and affection rather than polygyny and collectivist mechanisms of social control and family strategizing.)”
“This relatively greater proneness to forming a simple household type may well be ethnically based. [It is rather most effectively developed in the post-Renaissance Protestant cultural area.] During the pre-industrial era, this household system was found only within Nordic Europe: The simple household type is based on a single married couple and their children and characterized Scandinavia (except Finland), British Isles, Low Countries, German-speaking areas, and northern France. Within France, the simple household occurred in areas inhabited by the Germanic peoples who lived northeast of ‘the eternal line’ running from Saint Malo on the English Channel coast to Geneva in French-speaking Switzerland…. This area developed large scale agriculture capable of feeding the growing towns and cities [the area of modern urbanism], and did so prior to the agricultural revolution of the 18th century. It was supported by a large array of skilled craftsmen in the towns, and a large class of medium-sized ploughmen who ‘owned horses, copper bowls, glass goblets and often shoes….’ The northeast became the center of French industrialization and world trade.”
“The northeast also differed from the southwest in literacy rates. In the early 19th century, while literacy rates for France as a whole were approximately 50%, the rate in the northeast was close to 100%, and differences occurred at least from the 17th century….”
“The establishment of the simple household freed from enmeshment in the wider kinship community was then followed in short order by all the other markers of Western modernization: limited governments in which individuals have rights against the state, capitalist economic enterprise based on individual economic rights, moral universalism, and science as individualist truth seeking”: the correlation of the atomization of society and the consequent weakening of “patriarchy” and exposure of gender as the major category of social division with the rise of nation-state and modern economy, with, that is, modernity.
What MacDonald refers to as “the Middle Old World culture group” with which he contrasts the Western European system is just classical patriarchy of the Near East region. (“The Middle Old World culture group is characterized by extended kinship groups based on relatedness through the male line [patrilineal] rather than the bilateral relationships characteristic of Europeans. These male-dominated groups functioned as military units to protect herds, and between-group conflict is a much more important component of their evolutionary history. There is a great deal of pressure to form larger groups in order to increase military strength, and this is done partly by acquiring extra women through bridewealth…. As a result, polygyny rather than the monogamy characteristic of European culture is the norm. Another contrast is that traditional Jewish groups [his representatives of the Middle Old World culture group] were basically extended families with high levels of endogamy and consanguineous marriage [i.e., marriage within the kinship-based community], including the uncle-niece marriage sanctioned in the Old Testament…. Middle Eastern societies are characterized by anthropologists as ‘segmentary societies’ organized into relatively impermeable, kinship-based groups.”) The contrast between the West European “minor patriarchy” and the classical patriarchy of the rest of Eurasian can be summarized (modified from MacDonald's):
|.||W. European Minor Patriarchy||Classical Patriarchy|
|Kinship System||Bilateral; Weakly Patricentric||Unilineal; Strongly Patricentric|
|Family System||Simple Household||Extended Family; Joint Household|
|Marriage Practices||Exogamous (outside the simple household); Monogamous||Endogamous (inside the tribe as a whole), Consanguineous, Polygynous|
|Marriage Psychology||Companionate; Based on Mutual Consent and Affection||Utilitarian; Based on Family Strategizing and Control of Kinship Group|
|Position of Women||Relatively High||Relatively Low|
Pastoral classical patriarchy
A variant of the classical (intensively agrarian) patriarchy is what shall be called here the “pastoral classical patriarchy.” With its consideration we shall have completed our study of classical patriarchy ("classical pecking order"). The pastoral classical patriarchy is quite similar in structure to the intensively agrarian classical patriarchy of East and South Asia, being slightly looser because it is usually embedded in a looser state structure (typically not going beyond the stage of tribal confederacy). The designation does not mean that it is entirely “pastoral” (animal-herding), but it is most frequently compacted of this pastoralism and some agriculture. The example of pastoral classical patriarchy we shall present here is the (pre-modern) Slavic. At times the Slavic (social) gender structure seems like an intermediate form between the Western European “minor patriarchy” based on the simple household and the East and South Asian classical patriarchy based on extended patriarchal family; but it is certainly leaning more toward the latter than toward the former. We quote here in length Marija Gimbutas’ description of the pre-modern Slavic socio-gender structure (The Slavs, Praeger Publishers, N. Y. & Washington; 1971).
The central component of the Proto-Slavic community is the “joint family” (p. 133), i.e. the extended family of the classical patriarchal mode. For example, “[i]n Serbo-Croatian, where kuca means ‘house’ or ‘home’, a distinction is made between inokoština or kuca inokosna -- ‘nuclear family, single-family home’ [on the side of ‘minor patriarchy’], and kuca zadruzna -- ‘joint family, home of several brothers and their families’ [on the side of classical patriarchy]. Another Serbo-Croatian name for the zadruga is druzina -- ‘community’: its members individually are called drug -- ‘comrade’, and all together they are zadruzni -- ‘communal’. On the Dalmatian coast, the zadruga is called ‘united brothers’ or ‘undivided brothers’…. The Russians distinguish between ‘large, genetic family’ [on the side of classical patriarchy], and ‘small, paternal family’ [on the side of ‘minor patriarchy’].”
“The center of the zadruga is the ognjište (‘hearth’), the house in which the head of the household lives with his immediate family. In this place the members of the zadruga congregate in their leisure time, and take one or all of their meals together. It generally consists of one large room with a hearth sunk in the ground. The other houses are grouped round one side of it, often forming a semi-circle; they are not actually houses, but sleeping quarters…. In the Arkhangel’sk area until not long ago the prosperous joint families would assign each nuclear family a room of its own, called otdel -- ‘share’, as opposed to razdel -- ‘division’, a settlement upon separating from the zadruga. In 1897, Dovnar-Zapol’skij reported that in the Minsk area of Byelorussia, ‘… the father builds his son separate huts in his yard, one for each new family, but the land, stock, tools – all is owned collectively, they eat together, work together. Each family owns separately only clothes and other small items, money earned privately, etc” (p. 133 – 4). The central component of the classical patriarchal mode, the extended family, in the Slavic case thus seems like a compactification of several “simple households” characteristic of Western minor patriarchy.
“The whole zadruga has one patronymic name, which is given to each new member at baptism. This is the name of the founder of the zadruga. If the zadruga becomes too large, it is divided into several parts, but all retain the same patronymic. A single zadruga scarcely ever forms more than part of a village” (p. 144). Such (classically patriarchal) tribal structure indeed seems like a relic from the Neolithic period, as can be seen from its similarity to, already, the Chinese Lung-Shan social units. The “democratic” nature is certainly of late Neolithic, pre-state tradition, comparable to the late Lung-Shan tradition just before the beginning of Hsia on the Chinese side: “The zadruga is an extended nuclear family. The father is the head, but he cannot administer the family belongings without the counsel and consent of the adult members of the family. Usually he must discuss the more important problems with his sons” (ibid.).
“The father or grandfather is at the top of this hierarchy; his counterpart among the women is the ‘house mother’, who supervises the women’s work. She has charge of the kitchen, the food, the cows and pigs, clothing, waving and spinning. She designates tasks for the other women in the family, and preserves good relations among the women.” Very similar to the traditional Chinese extended family. “Although there are places in Serbia where the women elect the woman of their choice, the house mother is generally the wife of the father or grandfather, deriving her power from him and relinquishing her office when he dies or is replaced. If she becomes too old, weak, or disabled, the eldest daughter-in-law takes her place. The house mother is a mediator between the ‘house father’ and the rest of the family, but she herself never becomes head of a zadruga. The head himself chooses his heir: either the eldest or the ablest son; if he has no sons he may designate his brother or his brother’s son. If the father suddenly dies leaving no heir apparent, the older men of the zadruga elect a man whose age, capabilities, and diligence meet the requirements. The house father is master of the zadruga, responsible for both its economic and its moral welfare. It is his duty to maintain good relations between his zadruga and the whole village, the Church and State. At home he is a judge, seeing that all the duties of the family members are fulfilled, settling problems and quarrels. What he says is right. Even in his old age, the grandfather’s counsel is very much respected. The house father also acts as family priest, going back to the pre-Christian era.” Remember that the “aristocrat” of (at least early) classical patriarchy is always also the one imbued with “shamanistic charisma”, the foundation of political authority which is derived from the “supranatural” ability to protect the group (in this case, the zadruga). “Bound up with this is the ancestor cult, for he continues to be a protector of the family even after his death.” Just as in China since the late Neolithic time and throughout the imperial period. “Ancestor worship [ -- so often associated with male-dominance and patrilineality -- ] was practised most assiduously in Russia, where the zadruga was cruelly patriarchal.”
“Next in the hierarchy come the sons, who form the family council, and after them, all the others – women and children.”
“The position of women was lowly, and most menial of all in Russia, where the house father was allowed to beat his own wife and children [just as in the classical patriarchies of East and South Asia], and even to commit incest with his sons’ wives. The Russian Primary Chronicle (Laurentius Letopis) mentions that the men of Drevljane, Radimichi, Vjatichi and Severjane had two and three wives. At the wedding and later in the house, the bride was the ‘youngest’ (mlada), which means she had the least rights of all.” But the men here are the "alpha males" on the top of the pecking order that classical patriarchy is, and do not represent the fate of most males.
“After her husband’s death she had no right to his property. She was merely allowed to remain in the house, and was provided with food, clothes, and burial. If she left her husband’s house, she lost everything.”
“The children of the zadruga works as shepherds from the age of 10; at 16, they begin work in the fields, and at 20 become adults. The zadruga is communal on three levels:
The prehistoric Slavic Zadruga seems to have occupied a complex of small separate buildings in the manner of those in Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, Russia, and other Slavic countries during the [nineteenth] century….”
“The form of the patriarchal joint family is most faithfully preserved on Slavic territory, but it has close parallels among the Balts, the Iranians (especially the Ossetians of the Caucasus), and the Armenians. The joint family disappeared early in almost all the western Indo-European groups, and the west Slavic zadruga followed suit [all in favor of minor patriarchy instead: the observation of MacDonald]; in the east and south Slavic areas, by contrast, Byzantine, Tartar and Turkish influence served not only to strengthen the zadruga but to make it more patriarchal than ever.”
“It appears that the patriarchal, patrilineal joint [i.e. extended] family with women having greatly inferior status, the clan and tribal organization with exogamy and blood vengeance, the cults of hearth and ancestors, are all characteristic features of central Asian pastoral cultures, whether Indo-European, Finno-Ugric, or Turco-Mongol. [See the map below for the regional distribution of ‘pastoral classical patriarchies’.] The farther from the steppe and the nomadic life, or from their influence, a people moved, the more of these cultural elements they lost” (p. 136 – 7).
The simple household system of minor patriarchy was not of Indo-European origin, but developed in Western Europe indigenously and gradually only in historical times. (MacDonald is wrong about its long history going back to the ice age.) “P. Friedrich has concluded from a study of the Indo-European kinship terminology, that residence was patrilocal (terms for wife’s family being absent); and that the kinship system was of Omaha (patriarchal) Type III. That is to say, a man’s sister’s children were on a par with his own grandchildren, while his mother’s brother stood in the same relationship to him as a grandfather…. Because of the presence of separate terms for ‘son-in-law’ and ‘nephew’, Friedrich does not think that cross-cousin marriage was favoured. From a study of early codes, he lists as typical of Indo-European marriage: bride-capture, bride-wealth, polygyny (mostly restricted to the upper classes), strong rights of husband over wife, and concubinage; as typical of the family as a whole, that the duties of the son toward his father outweighed the obligations of father to son; and as typical of the larger units, that both wergeld payments and blood vengeance were imposed as penalties for crime” (p. 137). In other words, the Proto-Indo-Europeans were classically patriarchal, just like what MacDonald calls the Middle Old World cultures. Not surprisingly, given that their original homeland was located most likely in the Near East (Anatolia). Both the Slavic and the Germanic peoples of Roman times preserve well the Proto-Indo-European system, the basic element of which is precisely the zadruga, “which was kept to a small size in these mountainous regions where stock-breeding was the main occupation”. Although Gimbutas is here talking about the Indo-Europeans in the Caucasus and southern Russia regions, which she erroneously takes to be the Indo-European homeland, it is from these eastern European Indo-European peoples that the Slavic and early Germanic social structures arise. “… zadrugas combined to form exogamous clans, called rodu, which were units for the ownership of forests and pastures, and whose members pledged blood vengeance in defense of one another. These were in turn united into tribes, pleme, whose territory was called zupa, and whose leader was zupan or starsina. The social organization of the primitive Slavs was probably very much like that of the Germanic peoples before the migration, as described by Tacitus: many families organized into clans (familiae et propinquitates), with kings and dukes possessing little personal power but dependent on their councils” (p. 140 – 1): again, like the late Lung-Shan mode on the Chinese side.
Given its classical patriarchal mode, it is not surprising to find the same hierarchization in early Slavic societies. Below the tribal chief and his council (“tribal democracy”; p. 143) there were the free-born common people, and below these were the slaves who were “chiefly members of some conquered people” (p. 142). The Slavic hill-top settlements (e.g. the one at Nevotroitskoe below) became increasingly fortified since the late eighth and ninth century (p. 143), indexing the beginning saturation of an interaction sphere of tribal confederacies: “During the period between the seventh and ninth centuries there was a trend towards greater concentration of population in specific centers; this led to intense specialization, and to increased wealth and an elaboration of administrative machinery to control the new elements. Ore-smelting, iron-working and blacksmiths crafts were practised. Large pottery kilns were regularly used from about AD 800. Jewellers made spectacular progress between the seventh and the ninth centuries. This is especially evident in Moravia. Moravia and western Slovakia enjoyed the greatest concentration of population” (p. 146). The growth toward the second stage of supraorganismic formation – state – in the Slavic world is thus accompanied by the same elements: urbanism, noosphere consumption (enlarged production and consumption of art and craft as replacement or transcendence of biospheric consumption of foodstuff), and class-differentiation and greater inter-tribal interaction (trade and war) to sustain this noosphere consumption. Eventually “a powerful Slavonic state called Great Moravia… arose in the early ninth century in Moravia and parts of Slovakia…. The archaeological evidence points to a gradual cultural enrichment [i.e. enlargement and saturation of noosphere consumption] in this area during the post-Avar times which inevitably led to the strengthening of the power of the individual tribal princes and to inter-tribal wars during the eight century” (p. 147). Again, the tribal princes attempted to sustain and reinforce their authority to rule (their authority as the “head-function”: “charisma”) through the attainment of greater “wealth” (noosphere consumption) in war and trade. Thus we see once more how noospheric consumption drives the formation of an interaction sphere and thus supraorganismic growth toward the state. What in this case specifically differs from the Chinese case (of late Lung-Shan and the Bronze Age) is that the wealth or objects of noosphere consumption here are less or not specifically imbued with religious functions but are desired by the aristocrats, and so inspire awe among their subjects, because of the intrinsic pleasantness in their possession and consumption. Kwang-Chih Chang has specifically noted this difference between East and West. In the West wealth or consumption, or even domination of alien tribes (this is sort of true also of the Northern Asian nomad warrior societies, such as the Mongols and the Turks), can be pursued for its own sake. Politics and economics thus become divorced from religion, and the growth of supraorganismic integration and metabolism becomes independent both of the wishes of the individual persons composing the supraorganism and of any pursuit of the spiritual meaning of life: eventually, the Reason of the State. (Note that in Western Europe the Catholic Church pursues objects of noosphere consumption as a way to increase their authority precisely because of the religious functions with which these objects are endowed: i.e. just as in the Chinese case.) With Moravia the Slavs have passed from the stage of tribal confederacy that is equivalent to that of the late Lung-Shan and early Three Dynasties period on the Chinese side into the first semblance of state that is equivalent to the Chinese Western Zhou system, although the Moravian system is of course quite similar also to the West European Medieval feudalism: “Moravia in the eighth and ninth centuries has been described as an organized unlimited monarchy of basically nomadic (oriental) type. The country was ruled by a prince and professional warriors, the druzina, mostly armoured horsemen encamped in various strongholds. From these locations they controlled the surrounding settlements whose population was compelled to pay tribute and taxes and to render various services, including military service in case of war. Great Moravia, indeed, provides a classic example of transition from a tribal society to a centralized monarchy, and one of the earliest. Analogous developments with a shorter or longer evolution took place in Russia, Bulgaria and Poland: the creation of these states too was accompanied by a remarkable growth of towns [urbanism], crafts [the division of classes for the sake of noosphere production and consumption] and trade [the interaction sphere]” (p. 150). We see again here the effectiveness (and even the necessity?) of male-domination of the classically patriarchal mode as a dispositif in supraorganismic growth from tribe (its first stage) to state (its second stage) – and therefore in the enlargement of thermodynamic debt-paying through noosphere consumption. The product of course is “classical patriarchy” of the “oriental” style. The double-sided mystery then appears that this classical patriarchal mode, once it has achieved such second stage supraorganismic formation, tends to stabilize it against transition toward the third stage, whereas in Western Europe the absence of this very classical patriarchal mode helps bring into being the third-stage supraorganismic formation (nation-state).
Conclusion about “patriarchy” and “male-domination”: is it “better” to be male or female in “patriarchy”?
Let's now finish our earlier threads of thought. We may here define “better” in terms of power – the ability to influence others to do what they otherwise would not do – and in terms of living-standard (consumption). Now can we answer this question properly given the foregoing considerations?
The answer must be in the negative. It is the legacy of American feminism to have us talk about “women” in comparison with “men” (“men have more money”, “women have less power”, “the society is male-dominated”), as if gender constituted the most important social category in determining the fate of an individual. We have seen that this can only be the case for the most ideal type of a production-phase nation-state (with racial homogeneity and widespread economic equality coupled with a strict sexual division of labor: i.e. the middle-class in the form of the Victorian nuclear households being the largest segment of society) which virtually no society in the world has matched. What in fact serves for all times as the best index of an individual’s fate in terms of the degree of power and consumption is the class, and not gender category, to which he or she belongs. Women of the upper class have more power and enjoy greater consumption than men of the lower class, just as men of the upper class have more power and enjoy greater consumption than men of the lower class, so that it makes no sense to say that men (in general) have more power and enjoy better living standard than women (in general). This is certainly the state of “classical, agrarian patriarchy” – the caste system in its most pronounced form – as articulated by John Lie. Although the leveling of the population which the nation-state in formation has effected in order to consolidate its control over its subjects and thereby generate more power, has diluted the class differentiation of society to a certain extent and intensified gender distinction, class remains the more pronounced fault line of society than gender, that is, it is still more a predicator of an individual’s power and living standard than gender. This remains true as the nation-state transits into its mature, consumption phase. The radical feminist attempt to collapse class and gender – which could be valid for the most ideal production phase nation state – is therefore erroneous, and distortive of reality. Within each class, gender being the main subdivision within it, it may be possible to make global statements about whether men have more power or money (which is actually income minus spending obligation), but these statements could be valid for one class but invalid for another. In the complex contemporary North American society, for instance, among the upper class men might have more power and more disposable income than their women, but among the lower class the reverse seems true – or rather, there seem to be far less women in the lowest class then men, i.e., far less poverty-stricken women than poverty-stricken men (because women can more easily marry into the class above or have higher paying occupational choices, including prostitution). Finally, the multi-racial nature of North American society complicates the picture by introducing racial and ethnic categories which sometimes coincide with class (e.g. most blacks, native Americans, and Hispanics are of the lower class) and sometimes not (e.g. there are equally poor and rich Asians; but the rich Asians have less ability to influence society than whites of the same financial standing). Here, with class, race, and gender all together, gender in fact seems to be the least effective predictor of a person’s power and living standard, whereas a realistic prediction must combine all of the three factors together, not just the most important (class). The feminists are not to be trusted, for their thinking is decisively and exclusively skewing toward the least important factor, as can be seen even in their stereotypical evaluation of sex-work: they – or the camp among them that is against it – like to assign a globalist value to it, that prostitution is patriarchal oppression and prostitutes are “victims”, completely ignoring the great difference in fate between, say, a high class escort living in her million-dollar house and a street hooker with drug addiction, or between a mid-range, self-supporting sex-worker belonging to the middle-class in North America and a prostitute in Manila who, although earning an income that is considered good in her country, and more than the men of the class of her origin, is expected to send most of this earning back home in the countryside to support her family. Many years ago when Richard Wasserstrom in an otherwise enlightening article of which we'll make use later (“On Racism and Sexism”) asserted that “sexism is probably deeper than racism”, this is in fact inaccurate; what he meant to say was that gender roles have deeper historical roots than racism – there have always been different sexes in human societies, but not always people of a difference race. But gender role – and this is what feminists in their pursuit of black-and-white simplicity and global assessment consistently overlook – is a double-edge sword; a girl from the lower class with her predetermined susceptibility of being sexually objectified could end up being sold into sexual slavery in India or 1920 China but could also become a high-paid dancer in Las Vegas in America and join the upper middle-class. Whether sexual objectification is a curse or a potential avenue to power and money all depends on the context. The world is a complex environment.
The ideal production nation-state lacking, male-domination in reality, in classical patriarchies as well as in nation-state patriarchies of whatever phase, does not mean “all men dominate all women”, but simply “pecking order”. This is the essential meaning of a “class-society”: the upper class is those on the top of the pecking order and the lower class, those on the bottom. Since the ideal “feminine role” is a passive object to be appropriated – remember that this is a double-edge sword; so don’t automatically assign the negative value of “victimhood” to it – the females are less required to struggle in it, but are usually the prizes struggled over. This means that the pecking order is less of a reality for them, less stressful for them. Therefore, if we must make any globalist statement about gender, about the fate of men and women as such, the picture we get is more like the following:
Female Male |--------| | | | | |------------------| | | | | | | |------------------| | | | | | | |--------|
Women are mostly concentrated in the middle of the pecking order: they are less likely to be found on the top of the pecking order than men, but also less likely to be on the bottom. But both the top and the bottom of the pecking order are “male-dominated” (in our society, both the government and the street corners of downtown reserved for homelessness are “filled with boys”). This is what happens when you have to “struggle”. Feminists like to look up, but pay no attention to the bottom. This pattern of the distribution of the sexes, interestingly, applies also to “intelligence” (there are more boys that are geniuses than girls but also more boys that are retards) and “morals” (there are, throughout history, more males that are benefactors of humanity like Ghandhi or charitable personalities than females, but also more males that are criminals and mass murderers). The only globalist statement possible, therefore, is that males are more “active” – in all spheres of human endeavors, the good as well as the bad: again, the result of having to struggle and not remain passive.
Finally, do not confuse power and domination with the temporary instances of the use of “force”. Sometimes those on the top of the pecking order use brute force to achieve the physical destruction of another in order to reinforce their power and domination, as when the slave owners whip the slaves, but sometimes brute force is used by those on the bottom against those on top as a rebelling technique, in which case it is more an index of powerlessness, as when a ghetto black male rapes a middle-class white female. And here, in a stable society such as ours (i.e. a supraorganismic success), this “poor man’s technique” will normally backfire and end up further diminishing the poor man’s power, as when that black man is arrested and sent to prison. A society that is filled with violences – both inter-male violences and male violences against women: the machismo society – is just that, we repeat, a society in disintegration, a supraoranismic failure. As such failure this kind of society is a more intensified, less stable version of the pecking order, more akin to the state of nature, and it is typically mistaken as “more male-dominated” because the males struggle even harder in it, have to be more active. This is why male life-expectancy – an index of living standard – is much lower in machismo societies. It certainly doesn’t mean “it’s better to be a man than woman” in such societies. Male-domination is independent of male-violence against women, and doesn’t correlate with the latter. Japan is “male-dominated” in the sense that positions of power in society are filled with men (but remember, one must ask at the same time, are the positions of powerlessness also filled with men?) but violence against women is very rare over there. Conclusion: not only does “male-domination” serve some other purpose than “male interests” – either supraorganismic formation or it is simply a reflection of supraorganismic breakdown: and this really explains why “oppression and exploitation harm the oppressors as well as those they oppress” – its very meaning is ambiguous; its exact meaning is “pecking order” and no more.
1 C.f. Robert M. Sapolsky’s study of the “olive baboons (Papio anubis) living freely in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya”, in “Stress in the Wild”, in Scientific American, Jan. 1990, p. 116. “These intelligent animals are good stand-ins for human subjects in part because their primary sources of stress, like those of humans in modern society, are psychological rather than physical. Food is plentiful: the baboons spend only a few hours each day feeding. Predators are few, and infant mortality is low. With the luxury of plentiful resources and free time, the animals can devote themselves to distressing one another” like humans, especially males, do each other. And thus he studies only the males” – and remember “male domination” from classical patriarchal time to the modern machismo type roughly replicates the primate male-domination: since Sapolsky wishes to understand the underlying hormonal physiology associated with stress, and since males are the ones that suffer the most from stress in a "pecking order" (or male-dominatioin if you will).
2 C.f. Sept. 15 2005, HealthDay News: "In a somewhat unexpected finding, societal male dominance over women -- patriarchy -- may help explain why men have a lower life expectancy than women worldwide. British researchers analyzed rates of female murders and male death rates from all causes in 51 countries in Europe, Asia, Australasia, and North and South America. The prevalence of violence against women [the sign of the degree of male machismo] was used to indicate the extent of patriarchal control in each of the countries. Socioeconomic factors were also taken into consideration. The study found that women lived longer than men in all 51 countries. The study also found that those countries with higher rates of female murders (indicating higher levels of patriarchy) also had higher rates for male death and shorter male life expectancies [evidently the greater male control of females correlates with greater inter-male competition and violence], compared to countries with lower female murder rates, the researchers said."
"In fact, statistical analysis showed that variations between countries in rates of violence against women accounted for close to half (49 percent) of the variation in male death rates, the researchers noted. 'Our data suggest that oppression and exploitation harm the oppressors as well as those they oppress,' researchers at the University of Liverpool concluded. They noted that the higher death rate and shorter life expectancy among men is 'a preventable social condition, which can potentially be tackled through global social policy.'... The findings appear in the current issue of the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health." (Emphasis added.) Why then would the oppressors want to oppress the oppressed if it's not good for them also? Because they are forced to by the disorderly environment (pecking order) of the machismo societies; because the very meaning of "male-domination" or "patriarchy" as applied here is wrong-headed; it is an ambiguous designation for "pecking order" and mistakenly associated with the use of brute force. See below.
3. The feminists may say the fact that "men have to go to war" indicates male privilege, as they come back with a hero status (reward); but it looks as if this represents the most conspicuous instance of dominant males (politicians) exploiting subordinate males (foot solidiers). Read Catherine Merridale's account of the most extreme case of this, of the miseries most men have had to endure because they are men and so have to be drafted: that of the soldiers in the Soviet Red Army in Ivan's War : Life and Death in the Red Army, 1939-1945.
4. As short-range concrete reality consists in interpersonal relationships, long-range concrete reality would be the world of international politics, etc., the “big world” in which male interests lie.
5. One notes for instance that the differentiation of gender in pronouns – he vs. she in English, il vs. elle in French, or er vs. sie in German – and the subsequent employment of the masculine form as the universal or the norm and of the feminine as the particular or the “other” (“man”, “homme” or “Menschen” denoting “humanity” in general) – of which the feminists like to complain so much, but which, really, figure as the linguistic reflection of the formative nation-state’s need to expose gender as the major fault line of social division (appearing thus only in languages of Western Europe, the birthplace of nation-states), and which, therefore, help create feminist consciousness instead of perpetuating female invisibility or oppression – do not appear in the languages of stable traditional patriarchies: in Chinese or Persian (Farsi) the third person pronoun (ta, ou) is one form only and has no gender connotation; and in Chinese and Japanese the word for “human being” in general (ren, hito: 人) is completely gender-neutral; neither does any of the classical Indo-European languages such as Greek and Latin, which have (approximately) differentiated gender pronominal system and distinguish gender in all nouns (masculine, feminine, and neuter), substitute the male form for the universal or normative form. These languages of traditional patriarchies thus keep gender categories hidden and in this way prevent the formation of “feminist consciousness.”
6. The racialist thesis of MacDonald’s book is a sophisticated justification, through the latest evolutionary thinking, of the age-old stereotype of ethnic differences between peoples of Germanic descent and those of Jewish descent: that Germanic peoples have been genetically molded by natural selection to favor universal fairness irrespective of in-group-out-group ethnic considerations (the post-conventional stage of moral development in Kohlberg’s scheme), i.e. over against the traditional moral particularism (“whatever is good for my group is right”: the socio-centric or conventional stage of moral development); that the Jewish people have been the most representative among all traditional peoples in being genetically predisposed to favor the latter moral particularism; and that all “this suggests the fascinating possibility that the key for a group intending to turn Europeans against themselves is to trigger their strong tendency toward altruistic punishment by convincing them of the evil of their own people. Because Europeans are individualists at heart, they readily rise up in moral anger against their own people once they are seen as free riders and therefore morally blameworthy – a manifestation of their much stronger tendency toward altruistic punishment deriving from their evolutionary past as hunter-gatherers”: this he claims to be the strategy which the Jews have been employing throughout the twentieth century in subverting Protestant dominance in America. MacDonald’s evolutionary argument is quite anachronistic, and his (rather self-congratulatory) description of Western Europeans’ less ethnic consciousness is, as seen, clearly wrong. The interesting thing to note here is that this subversive strategy, which may or may not have been employed by the Jewish intellectuals (not all Jews), is actually exactly what the American white feminists have been using to get American white males in power to progressively consent to increasingly unfair special legal protection for (white) women (and special legal victimization of [especially white] men: they have successfully convinced the white male legislators of men’s sexism and intrinsic evil desire to dominate and inflict violence on women (hiring and wage discrimination, domestic violence, rape, etc.), such that these white men rise in indignation against members of their own sex and enact laws clearly unfair or unconstitutional (automatic arrest of the male partner in any domestic dispute before any presentation of evidence; the rape shield-law, etc.). And the foundation of this white male indignation against the self and empathy for females is not just their having reached the post-conventional stage of moral development, but also the age-old Western tradition of chivalrous love.
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