Thoughts on James Damore

I am sure that by now everyone has heard of James Damore, short of maybe a few grandmothers in nursing homes or an infant or two fresh from the womb. We have read for days about the memo he wrote at Google and his subsequent firing for code of conduct violations contained within the memo. To right-wingers in general and to reactionaries in particular, this memo was neither very objectionable nor was it very crude or edgy. Most of us would rather have seen a scathing, fire-and-brimstone indictment of Silicon Valley’s notions of equality. Instead, we have had to settle for a few simple statements of common sense.

The crux of his memo is easy enough to grasp: there are not as many women working in technology because women are not as interested in technology as men. Men and women are different. Boys like to build bridges and then knock them over when they play war. Girls like to wear jewelry and they feel good when they feel pretty. Those of us who live on planet Earth find Damore’s thesis to be as simple and straightforward as the motion of the sun across the sky or the rising of the tides. But, as the saying goes, common sense is not so common.

In Silicon Valley it is much more fashionable to pretend that the moon and the sun are no different from one another, that day and night are just moods, and that male and female are the same thing merely separated by societal conditioning. I am sure Google has some very illuminating ideas to help explain the difference in the hard-coded X and Y chromosome configurations that determine whether a person is male or female, but no matter how polished the words, no matter how tortuous the logic, nothing can change the biological fact that there is male and there is female and between these two extremes is a chasm of differences.

The intriguing part of this whole affair is not so much the content of Damore’s memo, but the lawsuit he is bringing against Google for his sudden termination. On the one hand, in an ideal world where we are all good little classical liberals, and we all live in a thoroughly free society, I would support Google’s right to fire whomever it wants, for any reason that it wants. After all, if I support the right of a Christian bakery to refuse to bake cakes for gay clients, then I should, for the sake of logical consistency, support Google’s right to hire or fire whomever it pleases.

The problem, however, is that we do not live in an ideal classical liberal society. The United States turned off of that dusty road quite a long time ago. The government intervenes and with the full force of the law gets to tell that Christian bakery that the humble cross-bearers who own it must bake rainbow cakes. With this situation in mind, I have to concede that we live in a society where identity politics rules the roost. In this kind of competition there is no sense in being fair to one’s enemies since it will only cede more power to them in the long run.

Therefore, for the sake of all of us on the right, I hope Damore goes ahead with his lawsuit. I hope that he sues Google for all they are worth and scores a smashing broadside for those of us who still have some common sense.

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Those Fracking Feminists

Fracking is the modern world’s equivalent of the Sierra Nevada gold rush. The profits are big and getting bigger everyday, the greed is palpable, and wary onlookers are concerned about irrevocable damage. The natural gas bonanza has been flourishing for several years and experts predict that by 2035 half of all natural gas in the USA will be shale gas. So why is so much scorn heaped on fracking? A lot of people overestimate the danger, underestimate the efficiency, and over-exaggerate the damages. Most don’t even understand how it works, or what sort of ‘gas’ the process is looking to extract. In the opening credits of the Beverly Hillbillies, Jed Clampett fires his rifle and up from the ground comes a steady spout of crude oil, suggesting in a quick image that the mountain man had hit it rich. A lot of people, it seems, think that is similar to how fracking works, if only Jed had swapped his rifle for a water gun.

The problem is that petroleum isn’t what is extracted by fracking, but rather shale gas; and to crack into this layer of shale that is deep down in the bowels of the Earth requires water sprayed at 9,000 pounds of pressure per square inch. This process has led to an eightfold increase of shale gas production over the past decade. So where does feminism factor into this?

Men are more than twice as likely as women to support fracking and they are much more likely to be better informed about fracking; a survey by the University of Nottingham discovered that 85% of men in the UK were successfully able to identify that shale gas was procured by fracking as opposed to only 65% of women. This should not come as a surprise to anyone seeing as how fracking is boring and pointless, and women are much more concerned with issues of substance like what swimsuits the Kardashian girls wore on Santorini or what David Beckham’s dog peed on last Tuesday.

These findings prompted Averil Macdonald, the chairwomen of the UK Onshore Oil and Gas company, to say “Not only do [women] show more of a concern about fracking, they also know that they don’t know and they don’t understand.” She continued with, “Why are men persuaded? That’s because an awful lot of facts have been put forward, [Men] will say, ‘fair enough, understand’. But women, for whatever reason, have not been persuaded by the facts. More facts are not going to make any difference.”

To any man who has tried to convince his wife of anything whatsoever, Macdonald was just stating the obvious. Women are not as concerned with facts as they are with their emotions about the facts. Let’s imagine for a second that one man and one woman take a look in the mirror to see love handles, a sagging waistline, and flabby thighs. The man thinks, “I need to hit the gym.” The woman thinks, “Should I go up a dress size? If they can’t love me at my worst, they don’t deserve me at my best.” Then she shimmies into her favorite tube top that is two sizes too tight. She will speak in righteous tones about how her body should be accepted as it is, medical science has no right to lecture her about her own precious state of being. There is a reason you won’t find too many men among the rank and file of the fat acceptance movement.

In the Telegraph, Claire Cohen protested against the assertion that women are creatures driven by emotion with a predictably emotional outburst. “Excuse me for a moment, while I slam my fracking head against the desk,” she wrote. Score one for feminism.

She went on to argue in the remainder of the article about how comments like those made by Macdonald would discourage young women from entering jobs in science and engineering. This is, curiously enough, one of way of avoiding Macdonald’s argument by dwelling only on the issue of how the statements might make women feel — an ironic affirmation of what Macdonald had said. Score two.

The real issue at stake here, the rotund elephant in the gender-issues classroom, is not whether women are suitably informed about fracking: we know they aren’t. The issue that has chapped so many women’s posteriors is an issue that many women would take no offense to whatsoever if the claim were draped in more appealing curtains: women allow their emotions to influence their opinions more often than men allow emotions to influence theirs.

Now if an eminent and apparently intelligent scientist were to appear on TV to claim that, when subjected to images of suffering kittens, women’s neurons fired more rapidly and therefore women exhibited more signs of apparent empathy, then women would feel quite proud of themselves. They would nod to themselves in congratulatory satisfaction, smug and puffed up with their own emotional superiority when compared with men. But then if the scientist were to take the same logic but apply a slightly different spin in its interpretation by saying that women were also more prone to having images of suffering make them more emotional and thus more susceptible to emotional manipulation, then women all across the country would send in an avalanche of angry emails complaining about what a disgrace it is that such a sexist scientist was given airtime by a once widely-respected TV studio. Women are willing to be the more emotional of the two sexes only when it reflects favorably on them.

Is it any coincidence that products marketed toward women, let’s say washing detergent and air fresheners, show plenty of smiling women and children in their commercials? I’m sure we have all seen a commercial where a scatterbrained mom pulls it all together when she shoves her unwashed clothes in a cupboard and sprays one highly dramatized whiff of the latest air freshener to cover the overwhelming stench of bad motherhood with coconut and lavender; the children, the mother-in-law, and the hapless husband all come home and tell her what a wonderful job she did with her housework. All the ploys of cynical emotional manipulation are present in this one commercial: social validation, last-minute triumph in the face of minor adversities, familiar comforts and familiar problems.

Granted, all marketing is a form of manipulation; it’s not so much the manipulation that bothers me, but the cheap tricks that overemotional women let marketing execs get away with. Women should at least make corporations work hard for their support. The infantile mascots and nonsensical but excessively cute slogans are bad, but the worst thing advertisers do is also clearly the most cynical one. The single worst tactic, the most pompous of all advertising ploys are the female-empowerment commercials that present trivial items in a rosy, feminist light: Vaginolate chocolate — designed by women, for women. As if, somehow, chocolate or hand cream or some other banal household item is empowering your entire sex. As if these basic products are miraculously improved because somehow, somewhere, a creature with a vagina got involved in the process. We have seen these formulas used time after time, reinvigorated with minor changes and shifts along the periphery, but always the same at their core. Yet women keep falling for these marketing ploys because they are less impulsive, more logical financial managers than men?

When you consider that women make 85% of all domestic purchases in America, I think it’s clear that heart-string plucking and formulaic marketing will be with us for many decades to come.

This leaves us with one striking question: if advertisers and shale gas companies are not fooled about which of the two sexes is the one more driven by emotion, then who is fooled by all this bunkum and cod-swaddle? The foremost victims are feminists themselves; there is nothing worse than a liar who falls for her own lies. The next victims are the everyday women who absorb these feminist ideals as if by osmosis, provided courtesy of the status quo. They hear something, it makes them feel good, and they accept it unquestioningly because everyone else they know accepted it, too. In short, we have a religion of womanhood, and the central dogma is that women can do no wrong. Remember to leave your offerings at the shrine of distended vaginas.

This leads us into quite a conundrum. By denying the obvious, by denying that women feel more than they think, men and women are forced to fight a totally manufactured war: instead of cooperating and each sex mastering its respective spheres, we are forced to skirmish over trivial theories of how things ought to be. Someday, hopefully, we can come to a reckoning and women will finally be left to the business of being women, and men will be left to the business of being men. Until that day, be prepared for lame advertisements and plenty of uninformed fracking protestors.

Feminism and Other Joyless Follies

Women have been told that their happiness will come, as it comes to all of us, when their shackles have been broken. The question of where the shackles have come from, and just what the shackles are made of, is a tricky question indeed. One of the first writers on this subject, Simone de Beauvoir, painted a grim picture for those of the fairer sex: women are bound and led by men, dictated to by male tyrants, their sex is defined only in relation to the male, and that men have fashioned them as the primordial ‘Other’. Women need, she claimed, to reject any definition of the female that involves comparison with the male.

It seems that de Beauvoir would not so much have us accept her ideas, but reject those ideas which would contradict hers. Women’s breasts should be interpreted in total isolation of any other facts, specifically those facts which show how they work conspicuously well for child-rearing. Women’s vaginas should be interpreted in total isolation of any other facts, specifically those facts which show how they work conspicuously well with penises. We should disregard any notion of nature or design that had seen fit to make women and men two parts of a greater whole. It’s all wrong, and any evidence to show how it’s right is wrong, too. I would call this a head-in-the-sand approach.

Although de Beauvoir was not keen to call herself a feminist, later feminists assimilated and propagated her faith, mostly as a concentrated sales pitch to have women reject traditional lifestyles in favor of a feminist one. Marriage stifles women’s individuality and drives them to adultery; never mind that for every married woman there must also be a married man. Women are defined only in accord with their usefulness in childbearing and rearing; never mind that men are defined only in accord with their ability to provide for and defend a family. It’s the same sand and the same submerged heads.

So where is the exit button? Where is the fire escape? What is the favorite solution of de Beauvoir and the ranks of grumpy feminists who followed her? Women should escape manmade definitions of womanhood, we are told in all seriousness, by becoming more like men—walking like men, working like men, and thinking like men. Women should eschew family for career, like men. Women should cut their hair short, like men. Women should smoke, drink, and curse, like men. Women should let their body hair grow naturally, like men. Women should reject cosmetics, like men. Women should show more initiative and aggression, like men. In short, women should be everything they are not by becoming men.

De Beauvoir wrote, “Men and women must, among other things and beyond their natural differentiations, unequivocally affirm their brotherhood.”

Maybe along with better wages women should also get a better sense of irony.

The flaws in the feminist approach are too numerous to be fully dealt with here. The needle of the compass is spinning wildly; de Beauvoir and the feminists are marching backward because they have convinced themselves that backward is forward. Women were living in Shambhala and now, with trumpets and self-congratulation, they are marching straight to Siberia. The first and most glaring flaw feminists make is to assume that being a man is desirable.

Where do these total misapprehensions come from? Most men have had to fight and scrimp and save for all that they have earned in life; it is hard work.

Fewer men than women enter universities each year despite the fact that males perform better than females on standardized tests. If the situation were reversed, we would hear about it every night on the 6 o’clock news: EDUCATION MAYHEM — OUR GIRLS LEFT BEHIND! Men are more likely to do additional jail time for the same crimes as women. PRISON INDECISION — WOMEN TREATED LIKE CONVICTS! Men have much higher suicide rates than women. SUICIDE BLUES — WOMEN AT RECORD RATES OF SELF-HARM! Men are much more likely to be killed or maimed on the job. WORKPLACE SHAME — BAD BOSSES BREAKING WOMENS’ BONES. By now you get the idea. Where is the league of professional victimhood when you need them? Sorry boys, they play for the other team.

The second flaw is to assume that being something other than what she is could make a woman happy. Squirrels are not known to get happy when you throw them into the sea; but put them in a tree and they get giddy. The tree is right in line with the squirrel’s nature; the water is better left for surfers and the sharks that eat them. Sharks do not want to be squirrels and squirrels do not want to be sharks, so what in a woman’s nature would make her happy to be less like a woman and more like a man?

Add to this nonsensical impulse of our age to make women more like men, yet another impulse to keep women somehow distinct from the men who they are told they should become. With ideas like these whistling around the head of the modern woman, is it any wonder that she is no less miserable than she was before her supposed liberation? She is stressed from work and she feels quietly the absence of children in her life but she is supposed to be grateful for it because she is tending the mill like a man. She is anxious from barking orders all day even as her heart tells her to soften up. She speaks of a blank-slate, of how gender is beat into us by an overbearing society, even as she weeps over second-rate melodramas on television that no self-respecting man would watch, much less cry about them. She assures us in smug overtures that she does not need makeup or dainty clothes as she uploads to Facebook the latest photo of herself all decked out for a night on the town.

Now let’s consider all of those dirty jobs that men hate not because they are jobs, but because they are dirty. Why would a career in air-traffic control make a woman happy when it has made most men miserable? Why should the idea of dying on the beaches of a modern-day Normandy make women courageous when it has made most men terrified? It is the height of folly to assume that jobs which bring men misery will somehow make women happy since by working these jobs they are being more like men. Imagine if feminists decided to bridge the suicide gap by urging women to commit suicide more often, since by being more like men, it would help women to narrow the gender gap. That is, in essence, what is being encouraged when women are told to work the same miserable jobs as men and that for doing so they should smile as wide as they can. Yes, women, you should dance! Revel in your shortened life spans, your anguish and stress, your childless deaths and welcome your liberation.

Now let’s consider the ways in which men and women work differently. In a study by a Boston-based firm called Bain & Company about women in the workplace, they discovered that the further women work their way up the corporate ladder, the more likely their ambitions are to taper off.

There are two conclusions that can be drawn from this data. The swiftest conclusion is the one that feminists have, in every circumstance, always drawn the swiftest: that men are at fault. The study tells us that women are struggling to maintain their ambitions because men higher up the totem-pole are not encouraging women enough. The study decides to completely ignore how men actually start their careers with more modest ambitions than women. Why are there no prescriptions for cheerleaders and empowerment workshops for those meager men? Why is it sexist to assume that women cannot compete with men and yet not sexist to assume that they need kind and encouraging words more than men to keep them in a state of equilibrium? What tangled webs we weave.

Realistically, the study calls into focus the clear differences between how women and men think. I come to a conclusion quite different than what the study’s authors had concluded — but what do I know? I am just a soon-to-be dead, white male. The study truly highlights the lower satiation and satisfaction levels of the female psyche: women want comfort more than glory. They want security and peace of mind; not tickertape parades and a statue carved in their likeness. Like men, they long for status and wealth but, unlike some men, only to the point that they need not worry about deprivation. This is not to say that all men are virulently ambitious; that is not true. The majority of men, like the majority of women, just want to keep their heads above water. They just want food in the fridge and new shows on Netflix. The key point to be made is that men have more outliers and oddballs: the rare breed of person who does so dearly long for the tickertape, the statues, and the honorary plaques just so happen to be men.

Undoubtedly, there are genetic reasons to explain why men are more likely to fall on the extreme ends of the bell curve. From an evolutionary perspective, it makes perfect sense. Once a woman has met her bare levels of material satisfaction why should she keep slaving away when having a baby would make much better use of her body? Once you have driven your car to the store you do not leave it running just because you can. The job is done, now it’s time to do what you intended to do: it is time to shop. Or, in the case of women, it is time to shop for a good man with which to raise a family. Even if, rationally speaking, a woman is past her natural childbearing years, the instinct to be content with just being content is much more likely to remain; instincts are not always rational in every circumstance.

Not only are women as a whole more willing to work part-time when compared with men, most white women in particular really do not want to be saddled with the responsibilities that come from leadership. As shocking as it may be for some, maybe the wage gap exists precisely because women are pursuing their happiness — and their happiness is not to be found in their work.

For most women, comfort is what they find to be most comfortable. In the mind of this not-so-humble author, I have proposed a perfectly reasonable alternative explanation for the findings of Bain & Company; and certainly it is a much better explanation than the claim that men are not encouraging women enough. That explanation is so royally bad that I think extraterrestrial abduction of women with high confidence levels would have been a better explanation than it.

How could the authors, people supposedly endowed with sane minds, not see the two most blatantly sexist assumptions in their conclusion? First, their conclusion assumes that women need more encouragement to do the same job that men can do with less encouragement offered to them. This does not bode well at all for women. Second, their assumption overlooks the previously mentioned men who start off with lower confidence than their female counterparts. This tells us men that our doubts are not as legitimate as those of women.

We can only congratulate Bain & Company for cooking up a conclusion so half-baked that it could bring both feminists and men’s rights advocates into agreement on just how stupid of a conclusion it is.

Yet, this sort of lunacy only brings us back to the beginning. The conclusion of Bain & Company is no more oblivious to reality than de Beauvoir’s conclusion that women should free themselves from men by becoming men themselves. If these are the proposed solutions I will gladly keep the original, more dependable problems. If burning down the house is the only solution, I will gladly accept a mouse or two in the walls. If sinking the whole boat is the only solution, I will gladly endure a hole or two in the sails.

To ensure that things run smoothly we must embrace some contradictions, or at the very least, we must embrace ideas that seem contradictory to modern minds. We should set aside the misty uncertainty of idealism, cast off the calls for equality, and let the tried and trusted machinery work as it has always worked: let’s let women be women and men be men and call it a day.