Wednesday, August 17, 2011
What’s happening to men?
The author below does touch on male motivation but she could be more frank. From the 60s on, men have been saying of women: "Why buy a book when you can join a library?" In other words, post-pill sexual liberation has removed a lot of incentive towards marriage or committed relationships generally. Sex is available with little or no committment involved. And that avaiability seems to be increasing, if anything. What would once have been condemned as "slutty" behaviour in women is now widespread.
And draconian laws about propery-sharing after divorce in fact make marriage an act of near-insanity for any well-informed male.
The end result is that men cruise while women have to look after themselves and their chidren by themselves. So no wonder women now take on the burden of a career and leave men free for a more self-indulgent life. It leads to the not uncommon claim nowadays that women's liberation was a racket devised for the benefit of men
So we have the frequent cry from hard-working professional women: "Where are the men?"
Answer: in bed with the much less demanding "slutty" women
Women today are entering adulthood with more education, more achievements, more property, and, arguably, more money and ambition than their male counterparts. This is a first in human history, and its implications for both sexes are far from simple.
You can see the strongest evidence that boys and young men are falling behind in high school and college classrooms. Boys have lower GPAs and lower grades in almost every subject, including math, despite their higher standardized testing scores. They are 58% of high school dropouts. In the mid 1970s about 28% of men had college degrees. Since then, that number has barely budged. Meanwhile, the percentage of women with a college degree increased from 18.6 to 34.2%. Women now earn 57% of college degrees; predictions have them at 60% in the near future.
The success of young women has also been an international affair. Women are outperforming men in school and moving ahead in urban workplaces all over Europe and Asia. They are half or more of university students throughout Western and Eastern Europe, and have reached or are approaching parity in Japan, Korea, and Singapore. As they move into cities, get their degrees, and join the workforce, women are delaying and even forgoing marriage and children. In South Korea, for example, well over half of 30 year old women remain single, preferring to pursue more education and “self-development.”
Their success is changing entrenched patriarchal attitudes. In the 1990s after sex-selective abortion became commonplace, Korea had one of the highest boys-to-girls ratios in the world. Now as younger Koreans reject the traditional preference for sons, the sex ratio is beginning to right itself. It’s probably only a matter of time before the same thing happens in China and India, both places where younger women are also becoming independent and successful workers. What’s causing the shift in women’s status? South Korea never had a vocal feminist movement—but it does have a vibrant knowledge economy.
All over the developed world, then, working women have been beneficiaries of the post-industrial economy. That leaves us with the question: why are men failing to keep up? There are two common answers. First, girls are “better at school” than boys, and are able to better compete for the higher paying, higher status jobs that require a college education. The reasons for this are highly disputed.
One possibility is that boys learn differently than girls and that the schools, where women do most of the teaching, fail to recognize boys’ particular interests and “learning styles.” Female teachers choose fiction, goes one example of this line of thinking, but boys prefer adventure stories and biographies. Another possibility is that girls possess noncognitive strengths that lead to greater school success. In a 2002 paper, “Where the Boys Aren’t,” Harvard economist Brian Jacob compared a large cohort of college grads who had been 8th graders in 1988. He found that while boys and girls scored similarly on cognitive tests, girls were better at paying attention in class, keeping track of homework, and collaborating with classmates. Other studies have also found them to be more self-disciplined.
The second and related theory about why men are falling behind has it that today’s labor market prizes female strengths more than male strengths. The manufacturing economy, the one that ironically gave women the household revolution that helped to liberate them, relied on physical strength and endurance. Perhaps there were women who could be men’s equals in the steel mills, on the auto line, digging in mines, building bridges, or laboring as lumberjacks, bricklayers, or roofers. But there weren’t many. Good jobs today are another breed. They rely on traits like organizational and planning skills, aesthetic awareness, an ability to collaborate, and what are called “people skills.”
They also often require a consumer mindset, and despite their increasing time on the job, women remain the world’s dominant consumers. The noncognitive skills Brian Jacob found to be at the root of girls’ school success also serve them well in the office. Whether these qualities are innately feminine, culturally taught, or some combination doesn’t really matter for the purposes of this argument. The point is that today, with the important exception of the technical and financial sector, younger women (that is, childless women, an important caveat) have shown they can easily be men’s equals, and possibly even their superiors, in the knowledge economy.
I would add a third, more existential explanation, for the male problem. The economic independence of women and the collapse of marriage norms have deprived men of the primary social role that incentivized their achievement. Adult manhood has almost universally been equated with marriage and fatherhood. Boys grew up knowing that they had inescapable future demands on them. There were exceptions, of course. In polygamous societies, low status men often had neither wives nor children; in others some males became priests and some, warriors and soldiers. But in most human societies, men knew that they were expected to become providers. Why have men agreed to do all of those dangerous, boring, dirty, exhausting jobs? Because people were depending on them. Evolutionary psychologists would point out it’s not insignificant that many of those dependents shared their genes.
Beginning in the middle of 20th century, not coincidentally the same historical moment that great numbers of women were moving into the workforce and becoming economically independent, the universal assumption that men were essential to family life started to erode. Divorce and single motherhood began to rise; even today, though divorce rates have declined, 40% of American children are now born to single mothers. Close to half of those mothers are living with their child’s father at the time of birth, but within five years, 40% of those fathers have moved out and their contact with their children diminishes steadily.
At first, the large majority of unmarried mothers were low-income women relying on a bundle of government benefits, particularly welfare, to support themselves and their children. More recently, however, high school educated women and those with some college have swelled the ranks of single mothers. Thus far, high-income women have bucked the trend towards single motherhood, but there’s evidence that is changing. In a forthcoming paper, Lucie Schmidt, an economist at Williams College, found that the birthrate for unmarried college-educated women has climbed 145 percent since 1980, compared with a 60 percent increase in the birthrate for non-college-educated unmarried women. It’s a safe prediction that the college gender gap will cause these numbers to climb. By age 23, there are 164 women with bachelor’s degrees for every 100 men, and trends have been towards greater educational homogamy, because women show little interest in marrying “down.”
What this means is that boys today are growing up in a culture that, unlike any before in civilization, is agnostic about their future familial responsibilities. The effect of this agnosticism on black men has been particularly dramatic. Social scientists generally point to the loss of high-paying manufacturing jobs as the cause of high black male dropout and crime rates, poor college performance, and absence in the lives of their children. It could also be that black men and women were caught in a negative feedback loop. As the manufacturing economy declined, black men could not find the decent jobs they had once relied on. Black women chose to have children on their own. Sons grew up observing that men were of little consequence to family life, which in turn gave them less incentive to adapt to changes in the labor market or more generally to become reliably productive husbands and fathers. With little hope for finding suitable husbands, black women came to take single motherhood for granted. Today 72% of black children are born to unmarried women.
This existential theory, stressing the loss of men’s primary social role, is impossible to prove with any certainty. But there is some evidence that unmarried men are less motivated in the workplace. Married men work longer hours, earn more, and get more promotions than single men, including those who are fathers; indeed, their earnings rise after they marry. This still could be a product of self-selection. The same qualities that make a man more productive in the work place may also make him a more reliable marriage partner. Several studies attempt to tease out the problem. Eric Gould at the Hebrew University in Tel Aviv looked at the schooling and career decisions of over 2,000 young American men between 16 and 39. He concluded that if there were no returns to career choices in the marriage market, “men would tend to work less, study less, and choose blue-collar jobs over white-collar jobs.” The findings don’t apply to the highest achieving men, but it does help to explain some of the behavior of men who straddle blue and white collar worlds.
Consider another recent study by S. Alexandra Burt at Michigan State University. Burt followed 289 pairs of male twins for 12 years, between the ages of 17 and 29. More than half of the twins were identical. She found that men who had shown less antisocial behavior as adolescents were more likely to marry as they got older, which argues for self-selection. But she also found that a married twin had fewer antisocial behaviors—aggression, irritability, financial irresponsibility, and criminal involvement—than his unmarried brother. This suggests there is some truth to the very unfashionable idea that marriage helps to discipline men.
Aside from school reforms that could help keep boys more engaged, the new gender gap has no obvious solutions. The profound economic changes that have led to female success
British family's 18 months of hell after two children are taken away when blundering social workers wrongly accuse them of breaking baby's limbs
A couple were accused of child abuse after doctors failed to realise their baby son’s ‘injuries’ were caused by a genetic bone disease. Both parents were arrested and prevented from seeing their children unsupervised for 18 months before their innocence was finally acknowledged.
Yesterday Amy Garland said she and her partner had been treated like criminals after they took their six-week-old son Harrison to hospital when he was ill.
Initial tests proved inconclusive, but X-rays later showed that he had suffered eight separate fractures in his arms and legs. Social services accused his parents of child abuse and took the baby and his elder sister into care.
Miss Garland and her partner Paul Crummey were arrested and banned from seeing their children alone before anyone realised that Harrison actually had brittle bone disease, or osteogenesis imperfecta.
The rare condition is caused by a gene defect which impairs the production of the protein collagen, making bones fragile. Those with the disease can break their bones while being cuddled or even in their sleep. Around 40 to 60 babies are born with the disorder each year.
Miss Garland, 26, who lives near Bristol, said her family had been left in tatters after she and Mr Crummey split up over the stress caused by being separated from their children.
As soon as the fractures were discovered, social services were called in. The couple could not explain the apparent injuries and police arrested them.
Their daughter Bethany, then 20 months, was placed in the care of Miss Garland’s father. When the case went before Bristol County Court a judge ordered them to live in a family placement centre where their every move was observed. Miss Garland said: ‘The judge didn’t want to separate me from Harrison because I was still breast feeding. We were watched 24 hours a day and there were cameras in every room. It was like a prison.’
After three months, staff could find nothing wrong with their parenting skills and recommended that the family be allowed to stay together.
But social workers applied for an interim care order and the children were placed into foster care with Miss Garland’s mother. They were allowed contact with their parents for six hours a day, under supervision. This continued for more than a year until Miss Garland found an expert who said Harrison probably had osteogenesis imperfecta. Six months later, doctors agreed that this was a possibility and South Gloucestershire Social Services dropped the case.
Miss Garland told last night how Harrison had been in obvious discomfort in the weeks after his birth, but hospital tests found nothing. But when she got home she noticed his legs were swollen, and X-rays later showed he had several fractures in his arm, feet and legs. Miss Garland said: ‘We had no idea that this condition was in our family so when they asked us how they happened we didn’t know.
‘They said they needed to investigate it and we were happy for them to do that. The police and social services asked us a lot of questions. They asked me if there was any family history of violence. The police spoke to our neighbours asking what we were like. They went through our house. I was in absolute shock. I felt like a criminal.’
Even in hospital, she was not allowed to be alone with her son. ‘I wasn’t eating and I couldn’t sleep because I was worried they would take him from me,’ she said.
The strain caused the couple to split up two months after the children went into foster care. Miss Garland said: ‘It was horrible. When I went home at night and the kids weren’t there, I broke down. We took things out on each other.’
A month after the case was finally dropped two years ago, Harrison was officially diagnosed with osteogenesis imperfecta. Bethany, now five, was found to have a lesser type of the condition.
Harrison still has vitamin D injections to strengthen his bones and sees a physiotherapist to build up his muscles. Brittle bone disease is often confused with osteoporosis – thinning bones in women after the menopause – but the two are not the same.
Mr Crummey, 41, who recently lost his job as a civil servant at the Ministry of Defence, said: ‘All we wanted to do was help our sick child but we were treated like criminals. We’ve never received an apology from social services. It makes me feel very angry.’
A spokesman for South Gloucestershire Council said: ‘We have a legal duty to protect children and young people and we always put the welfare of the child at the heart of how we deliver our services.’
Why is a Virginia Pilot Program on ‘Multiculturalism’ Closed to the Public?
If the stated goal of a particular program is to reach out to people of all walks in an effort to encourage “multiculturalism,“ and better serve residents in the ”diverse” community, then why would that program be closed to the public? Seems a bit counterintuitve, doesn’t it?
Nonetheless, that seems to be the case with a pilot program created by Chesterfield County Virginia’s Multicultural Advisory Commission. The pilot, set to launch Thursday, is said to “improve county dialogue with its diverse communities.” The Richmond Times Dispatch states that the commission will hold a series of moderated focus groups across the county to address issues including education, public safety, health, housing and business development. And, it’s sure to be quite a melting pot…except that the meetings do not seem to include representatives from the Caucasian or Christian communities, respectively:
Imad Damaj, vice chairman of the commission, said representatives of Asian, Latino and African-American communities will attend the first focus group, along with a representative of a Muslim group. Nonprofits, including homeless organizations, are included in the discussion, along with government officials from the county’s fire, police and school system. Minority business owners have also been invited.
“This is the first effort where the county is reaching to these different community leaders,” said Damaj, a native of Lebanon and president of the Virginia Muslim Coalition. “We’re hoping to learn from these communities.
“What are the challenges for them in living in Chesterfield County? How can we serve them better?” he asked. “What do we need to do to make Chesterfield a better place for their business? Are we serving them in schools and social services well?”
According to the 2010 census, the county’s population is 21 percent black, 3 percent Asian and 2 percent multiracial. Seven percent of county residents are Latino, and 7 percent are foreign-born.
The goal of the commission, which reports to the Board of Supervisors, is to identify the concerns and interests of its minority communities. It also seeks to promote cultural understanding and inclusiveness of those groups within the county.
Dale District Supervisor James M. “Jim” Holland said the commission was formed, in part, so that the supervisors can make informed decisions about its various constituencies. He said as the county further diversifies, “it’s even more relevant.”
It seems many distinct communities are going to be represented in Chesterfield County, however, Christians, Jews, and Caucasians in general seem to be completely left out.
Chesterfield County does seem quite concerned about its Hispanic community, however. “That’s [Hispanic] a community we need to be aware of and communicate with and be attentive of,” Holland said.
He also alleged that it is important for the county’s diverse groups to have a place at the table when it comes time to make important important decisions. Holland’s stated priority is that “we are hearing them and their concerns are understood and addressed.”
“I’ve learned to appreciate the beautiful diversity we have and the significant asset it is in making our community have a really high quality of life,” Holland said. “It helps us be a far more globally educated community.”
All well and good, however, the meeting is also, apparently, not open to the public. Now doesn’t that basically defeat the purpose?
The Barbarians Inside Britain's Gates
All the young rioters will have had long experience with the justice system's efforts to confer impunity upon law breakers
by Theodore Dalrymple
The youth of Britain have long placed a de facto curfew on the old, who in most places would no more think of venturing forth after dark than would peasants in Bram Stoker's Transylvania. Indeed, well before the riots last week, respectable persons would not venture into the centers of most British cities or towns on Friday and Saturday nights, for fear—and in the certainty—of encountering drunken and aggressive youngsters. In Britain nowadays, the difference between ordinary social life and riot is only a matter of degree, not of type.
A short time ago, I gave a talk in a school in an exquisite market town, deep in the countryside. Came Friday night, however, and the inhabitants locked themselves into their houses against the invasion of the barbarians. In my own little market town of Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, where not long ago a man was nearly beaten to death 20 yards from my house, drunken young people often rampage down one of its lovely little streets, causing much damage and preventing sleep. No one, of course, dares ask them to stop. The Shropshire council has dealt with the problem by granting a license for a pub in the town to open until 4 a.m., as if what the town needed was the opportunity for yet more and later drunkenness.
If the authorities show neither the will nor the capacity to deal with such an easily solved problem—and willfully do all they can to worsen it—is it any wonder that they exhibit, in the face of more difficult problems, all the courage and determination of frightened rabbits?
The rioters in the news last week had a thwarted sense of entitlement that has been assiduously cultivated by an alliance of intellectuals, governments and bureaucrats. "We're fed up with being broke," one rioter was reported as having said, as if having enough money to satisfy one's desires were a human right rather than something to be earned.
"There are people here with nothing," this rioter continued: nothing, that is, except an education that has cost $80,000, a roof over their head, clothes on their back and shoes on their feet, food in their stomachs, a cellphone, a flat-screen TV, a refrigerator, an electric stove, heating and lighting, hot and cold running water, a guaranteed income, free medical care, and all of the same for any of the children that they might care to propagate.
But while the rioters have been maintained in a condition of near-permanent unemployment by government subvention augmented by criminal activity, Britain was importing labor to man its service industries. You can travel up and down the country and you can be sure that all the decent hotels and restaurants will be manned overwhelmingly by young foreigners; not a young Briton in sight (thank God).
The reason for this is clear: The young unemployed Britons not only have the wrong attitude to work, for example regarding fixed hours as a form of oppression, but they are also dramatically badly educated. Within six months of arrival in the country, the average young Pole speaks better, more cultivated English than they do.
The icing on the cake, as it were, is that social charges on labor and the minimum wage are so high that no employer can possibly extract from the young unemployed Briton anything like the value of what it costs to employ him. And thus we have the paradox of high youth unemployment at the very same time that we suck in young workers from abroad.
The culture in which the young unemployed have immersed themselves is not one that is likely to promote virtues such as self-discipline, honesty and diligence. Four lines from the most famous lyric of the late and unlamentable Amy Winehouse should establish the point:
I didn't get a lot in class
But I know it don't come in a shot glass
They tried to make me go to rehab
But I said 'no, no, no'
This message is not quite the same as, for example, "Go to the ant, thou sluggard, consider her ways and be wise."
Furthermore, all the young rioters will have had long experience of the prodigious efforts of the British criminal justice system to confer impunity upon law breakers. First the police are far too busy with their paperwork to catch the criminals; but if by some chance—hardly more than one in 20—they do catch them, the courts oblige by inflicting ludicrously lenient sentences.
A single example will suffice, but one among many. A woman got into an argument with someone in a supermarket. She called her boyfriend, a violent habitual criminal, "to come and sort him out." The boyfriend was already on bail on another charge and wore an electronic tag because of another conviction. (Incidentally, research shows that a third of all crimes in Scotland are committed by people on bail, and there is no reason England should be any different.)
The boyfriend arrived in the supermarket and struck a man a heavy blow to the head. He fell to the ground and died of his head injury. When told that he had got the "wrong" man, the assailant said he would have attacked the "right" one had he not been restrained. He was sentenced to serve not more than 30 months in prison. Since punishments must be in proportion to the seriousness of the crime, a sentence like this exerts tremendous downward pressure on sentences for lesser, but still serious, crimes.
So several things need to be done, among them the reform and even dismantlement of the educational and social-security systems, the liberalization of the labor laws, and the much firmer repression of crime.
David Cameron is not the man for the job.
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, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN (Note that EYE ON BRITAIN has regular posts on the reality of socialized medicine). My Home Pages are here or here or here or Email me (John Ray) here. For readers in China or for times when blogger.com is playing up, there is a mirror of this site here.