Monday, June 17, 2013
Interview with Helen Smith on men's role
Any man well-advised about British and American divorce laws would NEVER marry. To do so is putting his neck in a noose. And women wonder why men won't "commit" -- JR
Helen Smith is one of best writers in the business about men’s rights issues and her new book, Men on Strike: Why Men Are Boycotting Marriage, Fatherhood, and the American Dream – and Why It Matters, is a must read masterpiece on the subject.
I was very pleased to get the opportunity to interview Helen about her book and what follows is a slightly edited transcript of our conversation.
Q. The standard liberal feminist response to a book like this is that men have every advantage over women and I know you don’t agree. Tell women why men don’t have every advantage and why they certainly don’t feel like they have every advantage.
A. Well if you’ve ever read Warren Farrell’s book, The Myth of Male Power, it talks about some of the issues that men have faced over the years. Men go to war, men tend to make up more of a homeless population. We always think of men at the top, but actually that’s not really true. Men are at the top and they’re at the bottom and the thing is, a lot of times women tend to be in the middle.
But what happens is women look up and they say, “Oh, a few men are at the top.” Well, like Scott Adams wrote in the Dilbert cartoons, “Those are other men.” The average man himself is looking around and saying, “You know what? I don’t have such a good deal anymore.” And we don’t know that they ever really did.
Believe it or not, 100 years ago or more, if their wife did something they would actually be held accountable and put in jail. So a lot of times what we think is a horrible injustice against women is actually also an injustice against men because if men didn’t keep a woman in line, the government or the establishment would put them in jail for something that a woman did.
But we always look at things in terms only through the lens of what do women need and what do women want and we don’t turn it around and say, what’s the right thing for men?
Q. If a man came to you and he said listen, “I think marriage is great there’s no downside to it.” What would you say to him? Not telling him not to do it, but maybe saying, “Have you thought about the other side of this?” What are some of the negatives for men in marriage that are making men less likely to marry?
A. Well, the first negatives are the legal ones. If man does get divorced, he’s much more likely to pay alimony. For example, about 97 percent of alimony is paid by men, only about 3 percent of by women. Men tend to lose with their children more often. Only about 10 percent of men get custody of their children if there’s a divorce. In marriage, …if a man finds out a couple of years down the line that the child isn’t his, the state, in certain states — not most states — a man can be forced to pay for that child even though that child is not his. At the same time, if he wants a vasectomy — now this one is hard because it’s actually not on the books — but if a married man goes to a doctor and wants a vasectomy, most doctors in this country will not perform a vasectomy unless that man gets his wife to sign off.
…If he wants to leave the marriage, a woman can just point her finger and tell her lawyer that a man committed child abuse, domestic abuse — and a lot of times it’s just taken as a given. If a woman wants a restraining order against a man in a marriage, men most often are taken to jail when you know the woman calls the police. However, studies actually show that violence in domestic relations is almost 50% from men and 50% from women. If a woman gets angry for any reason, she can simply accuse a man and men are just assumed guilty in our society.
The other thing is psychological reasons. Men’s self-esteem suffers more than women when they don’t see their friends as often and that’s because women tend to congregate a little more. When men lose contact with those friends, their mental and you know their psychological health can suffer from that. Men are also generally given the worst part of the house once kids come along. The man is kind of put downstairs to the basement, whether he wants to be there or not. Now sure, a lot of men might enjoy the basement but they shouldn’t be forced down there.
In my work over the years, I’ve actually seen men who hang around outside or they’ll say, “I don’t mind being outside in the garage,” but the minute they get a divorce they’re right back in that house and wanting the full use of it.
So, I do think that there are a lot of issues that men want to consider when they think about marriage because in our society if you make a mistake and if you’re a man, there’s a lot more at stake. If you’re a woman and you make a mistake, yes it can be bad, but the state is with you, you probably are going to get your children, you probably are going to get some child support, it’s more than likely you’re not going to be kicked out of your house. There’s even more support for you. There are a lot of organizations to help women, there are almost none to help men.
Q. One of the biggest issues, because it impacts people throughout their whole life is that women have surpassed men in college. There are more women graduating then men — and that’s an every year thing. This is huge because we have such a highly educated workforce. If you don’t get that college degree it can literally put you behind for your entire life. Why do you think men are falling behind at college?
A. Well, there are a number of reasons and one of them is proposed by Christina Hoff Sommer, who wrote The War Against Boys. And what she says is that a lot of these colleges have become very woman oriented and a lot of the classes that we have are more oriented towards women.
In a lot of the schools, I think boys actually lose out earlier. We don’t teach boys to like school, to want to be in school. …And the other thing is that they make worse grades. There was a study at the London School of Economics and they found that boys actually get worse grades if they’re taught by females and since only 15 percent of elementary school teachers are men, most of the teachers boys have during the day are women. Those women tend to describe boy’s behavior as much worse than they would the girls. They also tend to give those boys lower marks. I’m talking in generalities, but a lot of times boys don’t emphasize the same types of things. For example they’re not as rule oriented, where they do everything they’re told to do. They’re less likely to sit still. They’re more likely to learn a little bit differently. And the schools are more oriented towards the way that girls learn and boys are sort of told to sit down, keep quiet, and read Toni Morrison.
There are really just very few boys who are that interested in that type of situation, and these high schools are not geared towards boys. There are boys who fall through the cracks, don’t further their education and like you say, it’s a shame because those boys do tend to make less. They tend to end up in jail. They tend to just do worse in life in general and we in our society we say that those boys aren’t important. I do want to point out that in addition to white boys, you’d think people of the liberal persuasion would at least care about the minority boys. But apparently that’s not even enough to get you any help.
Q. There was a funny phrase you used in the book, dripping with contempt each time you used it — it’s called an Uncle Tim. Tell people what an Uncle Tim is.
A. Well, an Uncle Tim is just a male sell-out. …They are either are guys who just want to get laid and they just go along with whatever women want to say because they figure, “Oh, if this woman thinks I’m a feminist type, she’ll want to have sex with me.” Then there’s the other type that benefit because they’re either political or because their job makes it easier to go along with the whole feminist bent. In politics, especially in Democratic politics, it’s just much easier. Remember women make up a majority of Democratic voters. So you have to sort of placate them and so I think that we see a lot of Uncle Tim’s in Democratic politics.
But I don’t think that’s to negate the other side of it, which are the conservatives. I’m talking about white knights. If you actually read the men’s rights blogs, and I’m sure you do, they talk a lot about white knights and a white knight is just simply the more the chivalrous type. They approve of things like the Violence Against Women Act because they like to see men as the big bad wolf that women need protecting from. I think they see women more as needing protection and not as being strong and independent.
Q. One of the things I have long believed is that women already had their basic revolution in behavior in the 60s when they’ve got out into the job market and so they’ve had this big change in their behavior. I don’t see that same change in men. To me, men basically seem to look at things the same way they did and think about things the same way they did 50 years ago. So I think there’s a big change coming in society. And so I’m just reading a little passage from your book,
“Men are opting out, bailing out, and going on strike in response to the attack on their gender. A society can’t spend more than 40 years tearing down almost half the population and expect them to respond with, “give me another” forever.”
So what is the response? Where do you see this going with men? What do you see men doing in response to this? What’s the men’s revolution?
A. According to Warren Farrell, he talks about the revolution as two parts. There’s an economic one, where men really feel that they’re being held down and at the same time, there’s a psychological one in that men really feel that they’ve lost respect, there isn’t a whole lot there for them and they feel sort of downtrodden. I think as you see that more, I think those are the two issues that are really going to propel men forward to speak up for their own needs.
Because in the past, men have never really spoken up for their own needs. They’ve always worried about the community and what women and children need, but I think that men are starting to put some of their needs first and it’s not a selfish thing. I think I’m looking at it more in terms of political and legal aspects because I don’t see how anyone in the United States of America can say it’s OK to treat one gender worse.
There was a “Dear Colleague” letter that was sent out in 2011 by the Obama administration telling those colleges that take federal funds that they want them to lower the standards of evidence to one that says if there is a school that thinks or if a man is accused of a sexual assault, all they need to believe is that it was 50+1 percent true. Even a criminal has more rights than a young man on our college campuses today and I don’t see how people can think in the United States of America that it’s OK to have young men’s due process rights destroyed this way or that it’s OK for 50,000 men on any given day to be in jail for child support arrears. I thought we got rid of debtor’s prisons, but apparently it’s alive and well in the feminist states of America.
I’m not against feminism. I think feminism has done something wonderful themes for women, but at the same time what feminism has become is special privileges for women and more responsibilities for men. It’s just its unfair. I think people who believe that we can hold one gender down while elevating the other one are going to collapse our society at some point.
Multiculturalism thriving in Britain
A gang of drug dealers who enjoyed a millionaire lifestyle after flooding the capital with more than £5.5million worth of heroin have been jailed for a total of 72 years.
The pushers bought a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce, a £21,000 Rolex watch and designer threads from Paris after raking in a fortune running a string of drugs factories.
They also drove supercars including a Lamborghini and amassed an impressive collection of Dom Perignon and Cristal champagne, worth £700 a bottle.
A total of 55.62kg, worth an estimated street value of more than £5.5million, was seized during a series of raids across London and Kent.
The gang brazenly photographed themselves with the ‘spoils’ of their crimes, posing to show off the soles of their designer shoes and wearing three Rolexes, said prosecutor Kerry Broom.
The supply operation, busted in February this year, was led by Warren Desmangles, described as ‘pretty close to the top of the tree’.
The gang brazenly photographed themselves with the ‘spoils’ of their crimes, posing to show off their three Rolexes, said prosecutor Kerry Broom
The 31-year-old was jailed for 16 years in March this year, while drugs courier Dalwar Davis, 30, received a nine-year prison sentence.
Alistair Odoi, 37, and Duane Watson, 30, were each jailed for a total of 17 years on Friday. Desmangles’ cousin, Darren Husbands, 33, who acted as a courier, received a seven-year term, while Jason Willis, 25, got six years.
Sentencing Desmangles and Davis, Judge Anthony Leonard QC said: ‘You enjoyed the luxury trappings including watches which cost five figures to buy, and a Rolex worth £21,000.
‘You enjoyed the benefit of Cristal champagne worth £700 a bottle, and Louis Vuitton trainers costing up to £795. ‘It’s reasonable to assume you were living a millionaire lifestyle - you had that sort of money to spend. ‘You were making vast profits from the trading of buying and selling heroin on a commercial scale.’
Drugs were stashed in a rented flat conveniently located in the same block as Desmangles’ home in Canary Wharf, east London, and also at Davis’ home in Chingford, east London.
After the duo were arrested, new factories were set up in Enfield, north London; Hackney, east London; and Dartford, Kent.
A hoard of paraphernalia was also discovered, including two presses and food processors, together with numerous kilos of cutting agents including caffeine and paracetamol, and money counting machines.
Davis, of Walthamstow, east London; Desmangles, of Canary Wharf, east London; Odoi, of Stoke Newington, north London; Husbands, of Princes Risborough, Buckinghamshire; Watson, of Tottenham, north London; and Willis, of Waltham Abbey, Essex, all admitted conspiracy to supply heroin.
Davis also admitted a further charge of possessing criminal property, as did Odoi, who also pleaded guilty to having a prohibited stun gun.
Britain is too weak to face up to extremism
It is less than a month since Drummer Lee Rigby was murdered in Woolwich, yet already the incident feels half-forgotten. In terms of the legal process, all is well. Two men have been charged. There will be a trial. No doubt justice will be done. But I have a sense that the horror felt at the crime is slipping away.
The media, notably the BBC, quickly changed the subject. After a day or two focusing on the crime itself, the reports switched to anxiety about the “Islamophobic backlash”. According to Tell Mamma, an organisation paid large sums by the Government to monitor anti-Muslim acts, “the horrendous events in Woolwich brought it [Islamophobia] to the fore”. Tell Mamma spoke of a “cycle of violence” against Muslims.
Yet the only serious violence was against a British soldier, who was dead. In The Sunday Telegraph, Andrew Gilligan brilliantly exposed the Tell Mamma statistics – most of them referred merely to nasty remarks on the web rather than actual attacks, many were not verified, no reported attack had required medical attention, and so on. Yet the “backlash” argument has sailed on, with people shaking their heads gravely about the need to “reassure” Muslims. Tell Mamma equates “hate inspired by al-Qaeda” with the “thuggery and hate of the EDL [the English Defence League]”.
A trap is set here, inviting those of us who reject such statements, to defend the EDL. I do not. While not, in its stated ideology, a racist organisation like the BNP, the EDL has an air of menace. It must feel particularly unpleasant for Muslims when its supporters hit the streets. But the EDL is merely reactive. It does not – officially at least – support violence. It is the instinctive reaction of elements of an indigenous working class which rightly perceives itself marginalised by authority, whereas Muslim groups are subsidised and excused by it. Four days ago, six Muslim men were sentenced at the Old Bailey for a plot to blow up an EDL rally. The news was received quietly, though it was a horrifying enterprise. No one spoke of “white-phobia”. Imagine the hugely greater coverage if the story had been the other way round.
All journalists experience this disparity. If we attack the EDL for being racist, fascist and pro-violence, we can do so with impunity, although we are not being strictly accurate. If we make similar remarks about Islamist organisations, we will be accused of being racist ourselves. “Human rights” will be thrown at us. We shall also – this has happened to me more than once – be subject to “lawfare”, a blizzard of solicitors’ letters claiming damages for usually imagined libels. Many powerful people in the Civil Service, local government, politics and the police, far from backing up our attacks on extremism, will tut-tut at our “provocative” comments.
Much more important – from the point of view of the general public – you frequently find that Muslim groups like Tell Mamma get taxpayers’ money (though, in its case, this is now coming to an end). You discover that leading figures of respectable officialdom share conference platforms with dubious groups. You learn that Muslim charities with blatantly political aims and Islamist links have been let off lightly by the Charity Commission. And you notice that many bigwigs in Muslim groups are decorated with public honours. Fiyaz Mughal, for example, who runs Tell Mamma, has an OBE. Obviously it would be half-laughable, half-disgusting, if activists of the EDL were indulged in this way; yet they are, in fact, less extreme than some of those Muslims who are.
More than two years ago, David Cameron delivered an important speech in Munich when he emphasised that Islamist terrorism arises from the poisoning of young minds. He said that extremism does not have to be violent for it to be dangerous. If it stirs up hate and spreads lies, it rolls the pitch for violent action. He wanted the Government’s counter-terrorism Prevent programme reviewed in this light.
The results were initially good. Grants were cut and people were denied access. But there was too little follow-through within government, Civil Service or police. Although consistently tough himself, Mr Cameron has not persuaded others to be the same. Seeking a sop for Lady Warsi, whom he wanted to demote from the Tory chairmanship, he made her the “minister for faith and communities” without thinking of its consequences for his Munich agenda. This strange job, which gave her a foothold in two government departments, has made her a spokesman on these issues. Yet Lady Warsi is very slow to condemn Muslim sectarianism and has appeared on the platform of FOSIS, the federation of Muslim students which has repeatedly given house room to extremism. Five subsequently convicted terrorists have held office in Muslim student societies in British universities, yet the university authorities usually disclaim any responsibility.
Malcolm Grant is the president of University College London, whose student Islamic society was run by the “Underpants Bomber”, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab. He resists the suggestion that he should prevent such extremism on his premises. Now, as well as UCL, Prof Grant manages to be chairman of NHS England. I predict a peerage very shortly, or at least a knighthood. I also predict that preachers of deadly hate will continue to operate easily in our universities under the banner of academic freedom. FOSIS encourages “community cohesion”, according to a universities spokesman.
I come back to the killing of Lee Rigby. This act of blatant, total barbarism on an English street in broad daylight shocked every decent person, but not quite enough. Almost as shocking as the bestial cruelty was the brazenness. When you saw young men with blood-soaked arms standing there and talking about what they said they had done, you knew that they would be arrested. But that was not as much comfort as it should have been. You also sensed that they had little fear: they felt that they almost had permission to act as they had done from a society too weak to make such an act unthinkable. They were, unfortunately, right to think that way.
In Britain today, extremists intuit that organised society is at a disadvantage to them. They understand that what makes them feel strong – the power of obnoxious ideas – is exactly what the authorities do not want to investigate and attack.
It is worrying, for example, that MI5 has a “behavioural sciences unit” to try to understand the psychology and anthropology of young terrorists, but no comparable unit studying ideology alone. It actually states on its website that the threat of subversion in Britain is “now [since the end of the Cold War] considered to be negligible”, and so it no longer investigates it. Intelligence agencies think in terms of state power, and they know that subversion by enemy states is not happening now. They have not adjusted to the new reality – subversion that goes way beyond states, the capture of hearts and minds by evil.
This weekend, Nelson Mandela is gravely ill. When he was a boy, his teacher – whose name was Wellington – replaced his African first name with that of a British hero: he called him Nelson. It stuck. Anti-imperialist though he is, Mandela was educated with a profound respect for the British culture of parliamentary democracy. It became, in many respects, his model for a multiracial South Africa. It arose from good beliefs inculcated early in life. In our own country today, almost the opposite happens. In our state schools, in mosques, on the internet, in university gatherings, many young people are taught to detest the freedom in which they live. Just as surely as good teaching, bad teaching has its power. We refuse even to face it, let alone to stop it.
Australia officially recognises third gender of 'intersex' on all documents for people who do not feel they are male or female
Australia has announced new guidelines to recognise the gender category 'intersex' on official documents. Under the new system, which will come into effect from July 1, individuals will not be required to have undergone sex reassignment surgery or hormone therapy to select the new category.
Since 2011 Australian nationals who were biologically not entirely male or female, have been able to select 'X' as a gender category on their passports.
Transgender people have been able to pick whether they are male or female providing their choice is supported by a doctor.
The changes mean people will now have the option to select M (male), F (female) or X (Indeterminate/Intersex/Unspecified).
It follows a recommendation by the Australian Human Rights Commission in 2009 for the government to consider setting out guidelines for the collection of sex and gender information.
According to Australia's Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus the new guidelines will make it easier for people to establish or change their sex or gender in personal records held by federal government departments and agencies.
He said: 'We recognise individuals may identify, and be recognised within the community, as a gender other than the gender they were assigned at birth or during infancy, or as an indeterminate gender. 'This should be recognised and reflected in their personal records held by departments and agencies.'
If an Australian wants to change the gender entry on their personal record, the government will now accept a statement from their doctor or psychologist, a valid Australian passport or a state or territory birth certificate or other document which shows their preferred status.
Mr Dreyfus said:'Transgender and intersex people in Australia face many issues trying to ensure the gender status on their personal records matches the gender they live and how they are recognised by the community. 'These guidelines will bring about a practical improvement in the everyday lives of transgender, intersex and gender diverse people.'
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, 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. Email me (John Ray) here.