The comments by Angela Shanahan below on resistance to marriage among men are reasonable but she overlooks one large factor: The way skewed divorce laws have made many men see women as little better than prostitutes and marriage as a particularly expensive form of prostitution. In some jurisdictions a man would have to be either a hero or a fool to marry -- so heavy are the penalties for a marriage breakup. So feminism generally is a major factor in the birth dearth. Men need encouragement to marry -- not abuse, condemnation, suspicion and discrimination. So the outcome of feminism is that many women who have normal desires for marriage will never find a man insane enough to "commit". But I guess that the Lesbian "sisters" will rejoice at that
I myself have been married and divorced four times and have no ill to report about any of it -- perhaps in part because Australia is a notably relaxed place and perhaps in part because I choose very fine women. But many men have had much worse experiences than I. In some U.S. States, it is not uncommon for men to end up in prison because of their inability to pay court-ordered sums of money to ex-wives. Glenn Sacks has all the details
OVER 13 years as a columnist for The Australian and other publications I have received many letters. But I have never received one like this. It was written in response to a column I wrote a few weeks ago on sexual imagery in advertising. But coincidentally it arrived just after the Pope's remarks this month about the seemingly obvious link between selfishness and our inability to produce children. The thirty something writer cut through the demographic babble about the fertility crisis and heartbreakingly encapsulated something that is staring us in the face.
"The media coverage of the fertility debate has been extremely disappointing. For some reason, the emphasis has been on how women are choosing career over children ... And yet the fertility debate seems to have carefully excluded any discussion of men's involvement in the postponement of commitment, marriage and children.Despite the media's discomfort, the fertility crisis in the West is a moral problem and, of course, only moral leaders such as Pope BenedictXVI have the guts and authority to enunciate it. The truth about declining fertility is not all that complicated. It is the inevitable result of a so-called sexual revolution that broke the nexus between sex and having children, and has skewed our relationships, particularly marriage, forever.
Why is this? I feel that I am in some ways a survivor of the current cultural sexual practice ... Of course, in many ways it seems useless to discuss it publicly ... I was educated ... to be feminist in my outlook, but I also knew I wanted to marry and experience sexual life as a married woman.
And yet I spent my 20s waiting, often very, painfully, and with some real costs, for the 'other shoe 'to drop! I embarked on all of my sexual relationships in a serious manner, and was not looking for promiscuous sex. I had assumed that beginning a sexual relationship meant a man was considering me for marriage. But... the mass public culture seems cynical and almost hysterically anti-marriage.
Eventually I came to the conclusion that the desire to truly pair, to form a marriage bond, is part of the biological sexual response of women. . . if I can find a sensitive way to broach the subject, I will be relaying some of my experiences to my own daughter. To sit at a table, at age 29, and hear your significant other discuss your ageing with his friends, and his (lack of interest) in going further (after buying property together), is an experience I have no wish for her to emulate. I wonder how many other women have had these kinds of experiences and are left involuntarily childless?"
What the media coyly refer to as private morality - also known as sexual morality - is having all too public social consequences. On average, women in Europe will now only bear 1.5 children each, and in some places it is down to 1.2. The enlightened West can't produce enough children to fuel its economy or maintain its culture. In western Europe nothing will change this short of some great and terrible upheaval, such as another war. No amount of economic fiddling with family tax rates, no amount of child care or incentives for women to work, not even the threat of cultural extinction as a result of mass migration from Africa and the Middle East, will change it.
In fact, despite its tragic cultural effects, mass migration is probably the only thing that will demographically save Europe, as it has saved the US: the only country in the developed world that fully reproduces itself, courtesy of its Latino population. The Mexican American birthrate of about 3.3 is higher than the birthrate in Mexico, despite Mexican Americans being a poor group in every way.
This proves something that sociologists know but don't say: cultural factors are much more important for fertility than economics. And in sociologist-speak, culture is code for things such as religion and our sexual mores, including our marriage patterns, or what the aridly secular West will timidly go as far as calling our values.
So what are these values that are a prerequisite for stable societies that can at least reproduce themselves? The most important factor in fertility is marriage. Late marriage and failure to marry is the biggest single factor affecting fertility in the West. Where people don't marry and marriage as an institution is devalued, with serial relationships replacing marriage (not to mention weird permutations such as gay marriage), societies suffer declining fertility.
Even if women want children, because women's fertility is finite as my correspondent points out, the emotional stress of serial non-marriage plays havoc with the possibility of partnering for life. It is a terrible catch 22. But as my correspondent also rightly bemoans, so far almost all the discussion about fertility and marriage has been about women, as if their desires and motivations were the only factor. However, studies done in the late 1990s in Scandinavia, where almost 60per cent of births are ex-nuptial, discovered a much stronger connection between the attitude of the man in a cohabiting relationship, as to whether a formal marriage eventuated, than the attitude of the woman. Cohabiting men were found to be far more hesitant than women to formalise the relationship. Furthermore, this pattern holds true even in relationships that have already produced children.
Among the childless, men seem to fear that marriage will push them into more of a provider role. They harbour strong doubts about the ultimate value of a relationship - whether it will be lifelong - and are less likely than women to yield to normative pressure from parents. What exactly was the word the Pope used: selfish? This is much more a picture of reluctant youthful grooms being dragged to the altar than of reluctant New Age feminist brides not wanting to be tied down with an uneven share of the household chores and child care, which is what feminist academics claim is the motivator for the new non-marriage relationship.
In fact, it emphasises how little our sexual expectations have changed - because women still want stability, marriage and children - but, at the same time, how badly the new sexual norms are treating women. Who now quotes with approval the original shallow feminist rhetoric, when women thought that armed with the pill they would hold all the cards, that they would not be tied down and would be free to act just like men? The experiences of women such as the one who sent me that letter belie all that propaganda. Instead, many women are fooled into a series of unfulfilling relationships, becoming empty vessels for sex. Says my correspondent of these relationships: "I thought I was offering myself for marriage." Instead, having given away their most precious asset, their fertility, many women have played right into the hands of men.
The contraceptive pill was the greatest gift ever invented for men, by men. More than 30 years ago it looked like a lovely package of sexual freedom. But for so many women experiencing a series of partners from their 20s into their 30s and then staring into the infertile 40s, it was like opening a series of empty boxes one inside the other. And there was nothing at the end except an empty box.
THE IMPOSITION OF LEFTIST SHARIA
Definition: Leftist Sharia - the dynamic body of leftist quasi-religious dogma that dictates suitable behavior for everyone...or else.
Betsy has an example of the "new feminism" of the political left. It's rather ironic that it is pretty much indistinguishable from the behavior of the old sexist 'pigs' of the 60's and 70's--but in this new and improved version, women of the left unashamedly exploit their sexual connections and obtain power through their association with a male.
Along the same lines, this and this exemplify the left's "new civil rights" philosophy. They have the right to ridicule, trash and denigrate any black person who dares to stray from the approved party line.
Furthermore, this and this represent the "new gay rights" agenda of the left, where it's OK to be gay as long as you follow their rules, believe as they believe, and behave as they dictate you should.
Funny, isn't it, how much all this resembles the most pernicious sort of tyranny?
Three examples of what the Democrats REALLY think of their "rainbow" base of support.
Do you imagine these attitudes now displayed by the political left show respect for "diversity"?
Think back. Do you entertain the idea that John Edwards and John Kerry compassionately brought up Mary Cheney's sexual orientation in 2004 in order to show their "respect" for Vice President Cheney and his family? Or that Ted Rall and Jeff Danziger are proud of black achievement?
Ann Coulter wrote about this aspect of the left's intellectual and moral bankruptcy in a FrontPageMag.com article some time back:
...So now liberals are lashing out at the gays. Two weeks ago, the New York Times turned over half of its op-ed page to outing gays with some connection to Republicans. There is no principled or intellectual basis for these outings. Conservatives don't want gays to die; we just don't want to transform the Pentagon into the Office of Gay Studies.
By contrast, liberals say: "We love gay people! Gay people are awesome! Being gay is awesome! Gay marriage is awesome! Gay cartoon characters are awesome! And if you don't agree with us, we'll punish you by telling everyone that you're gay!"
In addition to an attack on a website reporter for supposedly operating a gay escort service and thereby cutting into the business of the Village Voice, another Times op-ed article the same day gratuitously outed the children of prominent conservatives.
These are not public figures. No one knows who they are apart from their famous parents. I didn't even know most of these conservatives
Do you think that a Black woman in one of the highest political offices in the land deserves to be ridiculed for her achievements because she is Black and a Republican? Or because she is possibly gay and Republican? Do you think she'd get some respect if she were a Democrat?
In the left's obsession with "diversity", it is interesting, is it not, that they have completely omitted the concept of diversity of thought as being worthy of inclusion into their little multiculti religion?
That is because when there is a tolerance for diversity of thought, it is much harder to claim that you have been "victimized" by others. They are free to mock you, just as you are free to mock them.
All this is evidence that the left has become a party promoting political sharia; and as such, they reserve a special punishment --or 'fatwa"--for any member of their "protected" victim groups who dare to escape from their "protection."
The left is capable of thinking about these issues only in terms of the 'Marxist dialectic', where everyone is either "oppressed" ,or else they must be an "oppressor" (except, of course, for the leaders of the left who consider themselves "champions of the oppressed").
This framework allows them to continually fan the fires of class warfare and thus continue a self-fulfilling prophecy. And the left's victimhood scam has become a remarkably convenient intellectual and moral tool to keep that rainbow base of support in line with the dogma.
In fact, this strategy is precisely at the heart of the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of the Left today.
The faux concerns regularly expresesed by the left about the "erosion of democracy and free speech" are striking--particularly when you consider that their own ideological constructs (e.g., "multiculturalism" and "political correctness") are the most serious threats to free speech and intellectual freedom.
This is the leftist sharia that has been imposed upon all of us. If you are female, black or gay and dare to reject their religion, they will brand you apostate and issue one of their fatwas, intent on exposing your "hypocrisy" (the worse kind of sin in their eyes is if you go against the one, true, religion).
Is it any wonder they feel a mystical kinship with a certain medieval and fanatical religion?
BOOK REVIEW OF: "The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism: Jews, Israel, and Liberal Opinion," by Bernard Harrison
This time last year, when one million Israelis were spending their days in bomb shelters, when the north of the country was being bombarded with rockets and Israel was pounding to a pulp considerable parts of southern Lebanon and Beirut, many among us expressed a longing for what is known in Hebrew as hasbara, a state-organized PR campaign explaining Israel's situation to the world. A vague wave of yearning for hasbara, that elusive goddess, swept through the country. To the outside observer, it seemed as though Israelis were gazing up at the media heavens and muttering: If only they understood us, if only they knew the truth, then they wouldn't be saying such terrible things about us. In their despair, they might then well add: they're all anti-Semites, anyway.
In "The Resurgence of Anti-Semitism," the American philosopher Bernard Harrison offers a foreigner's perspective on the sense, which haunts many Jews and non-Jews, in Israel and abroad, that anti-Semitism has increased, its two-millennia-old essence unchanged despite the different exterior. Being an analytical philosopher, Harrison approaches the subject as a reader of texts. The subtitle of his book attests to the focus of his reading: "Jews, Israel and Liberal Opinion." That is, Harrison explores neither the murky waters of the radical right in Europe, nor the distinctly anti-Semitic hues with which certain extremist Islamic group have colored some of their messages.
What interests Harrison, rather, is the anti-Semitism he identifies in the left, among those who hold liberal opinions. Indeed, that is the most problematic area for the northern Israeli being bombarded in the summer of 2006, and for any Israeli or Jew with sensibilities, opinions and a conscience. After all, it is no wonder that the radical right continues to embrace racist positions and rhetoric toward Jews as individuals, as a group, as a people and as a race. Nor is it very surprising that some of the Arab anti-Semites use racist and even Nazi imagery and propaganda as a tool in their struggle against their perceived enemy. Harrison's wonder increases when he encounters distinctly anti-Semitic images, the most crude and offensive kind of prejudice, in, of all things, the discourse of his own natural habitat, the American and European liberal left.
Harrison's book asks "Why?," but the answers are not easily found. He presents contemporary cross-sections of politics, morality and culture in the West, especially in the left, and uses them to understand attitudes toward Israel, Zionism and Jews in general. For example, if in the past the left focused on questions of history, society and culture, today it emphasizes the moral dimension. Obviously, the political and international reality of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict presents that left with ample opportunities for moral judgment. Harrison shows that in more than a few cases, when criticism is directed at the Israeli side, the imagery, concepts and underlying assumptions are derived from the "old" anti-Semitism. In an interesting confluence of factors, the moralizing discourse is only intensified by the American right led by President George W. Bush, with his claims about an "axis of evil."
According to Harrison, the very emphasis on evil as a genuine presence in international affairs is not only simplistic. It also leaves greater room for this evil to be linked to one side or another. At the other end of the continuum of approaches to political-cultural reality lies the relativism that has become pervasive in so many circles, and certainly in those of the left. This way of thinking, which might have been used for a well-reasoned judgment of either side, is often employed to dim the criticism of phenomena such as the Palestinian suicide bombings, or even to justify them; it is not, however, enlisted to justify the radical measures concocted by the Israeli defense establishment.
Bernard Harrison is a philosopher, not a historian, sociologist or political scientist. He does not seek to explain the Arab-Israeli conflict, attitudes toward Israel, or anti-Semitism itself. His descriptive approach leads him to identify fundamental problems in how the objects of critique - Jews, Israel, Zionism - are handled. To him, the main problem is that in their dogmatic, didactic, political zeal, many leftists choose to apply existing categories and longstanding concepts to aspects of reality that involve Jews and Israel. Essential fallacies then emerge. Say "apartheid," and you must immediately present a detailed comparison between the characteristics of the old South African state and the one that you are now accusing of apartheid. Say "Nazis," and you must debate issues such as the comparison between besieged Ramallah and Auschwitz. Say "racism," "evil," "colonialism," and you find yourself in a narrow intellectual corridor: If you cannot define, describe in detail and prove, point by point, that the analogy and the application of the concept are legitimate, then you will find yourself on shaky ground indeed.
Harrison believes that speakers and writers often take the easy way out: They make analogies but do not prove them, draw crude lines and take shortcuts to their unequivocal conclusions. This is certainly the case in a media culture that demands sound bytes, clearcut headlines and a crisp distinction between "good guys" and "bad guys." Along the way, people tend to forget that analogies have a limited value. They have the power to underscore questions, but not to provide answers.
Bernard Harrison knows that the questions are much more complex than any Manichean portrayal. Many acts perpetrated by Israel are reprehensible. Quite a bit of what the Palestinians do is abhorrent. One of the book's most lucid and frustrating moments comes courtesy of a line Harrison quotes from a piece by Linda Grant in the Guardian, in which she explained to her readers: "The most important word in Hebrew is balagan (mess)." The balagan of the Middle East gives those who discuss it endless opportunities to slip instinctively into laziness, despair and the dark terrain of the old anti-Semitism. This slippage, especially when it comes up against the backdrop of justified accusations mixed with poorly substantiated slander, provides many Israelis with the familiar refuge: to tell themselves that the world hates them, "it just does," so that even the goddess of hasbara can offer no salvation. Nevertheless, Israelis face a vital and difficult intellectual and moral task: to make their own lucid distinctions between good and evil.
Leftist racism on the march among the Australian Left
LIKE most of you, I'm indigenous. I was born here and have nowhere else to go, Andrew Bolt writes
This is my home, and where my heart is. If I'm not indigenous to Australia, I'm indigenous to nowhere. So you might think I'd cheer at Labor's promise last week to ratify - should it win government - the United Nations' new Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Except, of course, we know Labor is infected with the New Racism, and still plays off one tribe against another.
In the case of we indigenous Australians, Labor now wants to ratify a bizarre document that doesn't just stop at saying some indigenous people are more indigenous than others. It also says the most indigenous of us - people born here, like me, but with some Aboriginal ancestry - can be excused the laws and obligations that apply to the rest of us. And get extra rights all of their own.
Here's proof that Kevin Rudd's new Labor isn't so new, after all, exploiting the ethnic differences which divide us rather than celebrating what unites. Incidentally, for more proof, see star Labor candidate Maxine McKew, now fighting Prime Minister John Howard for his seat of Bennelong. She's just promised to recognise the "Armenian genocide", hoping to thrill Bennelong's 4000 ethnic Armenians. The nation's many Turks, however, will be enraged, rightly arguing that the death of hundreds of thousands of Armenians in the wars, famines and inter-ethnic slaughter of the Ottoman Empire's last years was a tragedy, but no state-ordered genocide. McKew's promise can bring only strife, but harvesting votes by preaching old divisions rather than a new unity is an old Labor ploy.
And so we see again with this UN Declaration on indigenous rights. The wretched thing is actually the work of the UN's discredited Human Rights Council, which includes representatives from such beacons of humans rights as Saudi Arabia, China, Cuba, Egypt, Pakistan and Russia. Already you'll have figured this is a document full of empty sentiments that even its authors don't believe or most certainly will never implement. That helps to explain why the four countries that refused to ratify it last week are ones that take their word more seriously: Australia, Canada, the United States and New Zealand, each of which objects that this declaration puts ethnic laws above national ones. But Labor's spokesman for indigenous affairs, Jenny Macklin, can't wait to sign, promising "a federal Labor Government would endorse Australia becoming a signatory".
So what is in this UN declaration, that Macklin later stressed was "non-binding", that Labor wants to sign us up to? Read closely, because it's actually a blueprint for an Aboriginal nation within Australia, with rights to its own schools, own government, own treaties and own laws, even if as barbaric as payback: "Indigenous peoples and individuals have the right to belong to an indigenous community or nation . . . "(States must give) due recognition to indigenous peoples' laws . . . "Indigenous peoples have the right to establish and control their education systems . . . "States shall consult and co-operate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions . . . "Indigenous peoples . . . have the right to maintain and develop contacts, relations and co-operation, including activities for spiritual, cultural, political, economic and social purposes with . . . other peoples across borders . . . "Indigenous peoples have the right to determine the responsibilities of individuals to their communities." That last one is oppressive. It says tribal strongmen can tell Aborigines who want to join the mainstream to stick with the tribe instead.
Macklin is now insisting she won't let tribal law overrule the general law. But why sign a protocol that implies the very opposite? That supports an Aboriginal nation within Australia? That supports separate rights and separate development for Aborigines, instead of urging them to seek a future with the rest of us? What divisive and racist foolishness. Already we can assume Labor in office will kill the federal intervention in the Northern Territory launched by this Government to save Aboriginal communities now drowning in booze, violence, truancy and unemployment.
It isn't right, a Macklin will say after the election, that "we" trample on Aborigines' rights to their own ways. And once again the weak will pay for this Noble Savage myth that Labor still worships: this insistence that Aborigines be a race apart. They'll be like the boy of this news story last week: "A magistrate seeking to preserve an Aboriginal toddler's cultural identity ignored warnings from child protection workers and put him into the care of his violent uncle, who four weeks later tortured and bashed the boy almost to death . . ." Preserve the tribe! Never mind the individual. And pit one race against another. Pit one group of indigenous people against the rest who were born here, and want brothers, not rivals.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.