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A Common Humanity or Bust
Degrading the bargaining politics of human flourishing: II
This article can be adumbrated thusly: The transcult is feminism’s bastard child, borne of the older ideology’s pretence that a distinct ideology was needed for women to gain civil rights.
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From the abolition of the slave trade to same-sex marriage, the politics of the Emancipation Sequence—a feature of Western civilisation for over two centuries—has expanded the politics of a common humanity, of a shared citizenship.
As discussed in my previous essay, feminism was the first movement in that sequence both to valorise its own group and undermine the notion of a common humanity. It did so by moralising the difference between two groups: men and women. Rather than—as previous movements in the Emancipation Sequence had done—seeking to de-moralise such differences in the name of a common humanity and shared citizenship.
Feminism is based on two bullshit claims: that is, claims made for persuasive effect rather than truth. The first bullshit claim is that you need a special ideology to liberate women. You didn’t need a special ideology to abolish slavery, to get rid of laws targeting Jews or Catholics, to enact adult male suffrage, to stop discriminating against homosexuals. You needed to appeal to a common humanity and build a shared citizenship.
The second bullshit claim was that the problem is male oppression. Every single legal advance for women has relied on male votes and male endorsement. Earlier laws and mores were socially evolved strategies to deal with existing constraints and opportunities, framed by the West’s dominant religion (Christianity). Particular constraints, opportunities and framings operated within the fundamental structuring features of all human societies. That is, to transfer risks away from child-rearing and resources to child-rearing.
While various constraints persisted, widespread experience reinforced socially evolved strategies. As those constraints—and so opportunities—shifted, experience no longer reinforced the existing strategies. New ones evolved.
It was not that oppression was lifted. Rather, social possibilities expanded due to changes in constraints—mainly due to technological change—and that was accepted. If you look at a society where men were expected to “go over the top” into machine-gun fire (the normal dispensability of young males applied in an industrial society) and think that women somehow were especially oppressed, you are committed to a ridiculous, and contemptible, caricature of the past.
You are committed to bullshit history.
This is especially so when one compares the status of women in the Eurosphere (Christian Europe and its offshoot societies) to what pertained in Islam, Brahmin civilisation or Confucian societies. A quick count of the number of sovereign female rulers in the first (40 between 600 and 1800) as compared to those other civilisations, the lack of social seclusion of women in Christendom*, and their higher legal standing, all make the differences quite stark.
The patterns of Western civilisation—including the entrenchment of public bargaining politics via Parliamentarianism—made a women’s movement possible. It made possible the entire Emancipation Sequence.
If, however, one defines constraint as oppression, then one is driven to blank slate views of the world. Evolved cognitive structures are constraints. Moreover, reactions to constraints become responses to oppression. So any observed differences between men and women become potential signs of oppression. Add in moralising the distinctions between men and women, then counting male and female shares becomes the most morally salient feature of everything.
Intersectionality—and the Oppression Olympics—here we come.
Feminism was not needed for women to join the Emancipation Sequence. Indeed, if anything, its bullshit claims got in the way of managing social change. If it’s all men’s fault, if it’s all a binary pattern of oppression, women don’t have to look at themselves, or respect men’s perspectives.
The elevated importance of education (or at least of the credentials therefrom), and women’s ability to unilaterally control their fertility, has meant that earlier maturing, propriety-oriented girls increasingly outperform later maturing, prestige-seeking boys in the crucial gate-keeper years of schooling. This has resulted in (childless) women outperforming men in developed economies. This undermines the purer-because-oppressed narrative within feminism, a narrative that was always fundamentally ridiculous but has become ever more ridiculous as generations grow up who have never known anything other than full legal and social equality for women.
Chivalry was a mechanism for the physically stronger sex to signal protective restraint towards the physically weaker sex. Women have rational reasons to fear men. Males are the systematically stronger sex with a much larger “tail” of extreme aggressors. Feminism—full of the stupidity of self-valorising arrogance—got rid of chivalry and is now, clumsily, attempting (via Me Too and believe all women) to find a substitute for it. This is a classic case of Chesterton’s Fence. The embedded learning of the past was contemptuously dismissed by the arrogant politics of the transformational future without understanding why it was there in the first place.
A culture of chivalry both acknowledges—and seeks to protectively re-direct—greater male strength. It also implicitly valorises male-as-protector, which is incompatible both with blank-slate feminism and with moralising the distinction between men and women so as to valorise women and denigrate men.
To admit the value of chivalry is to admit the reality of continuing structure, and the constraints flowing from such structures. The more the reality of continuing structures is admitted, the more they inhibit the florid imaginings of the transformational future.
This is why the politics of the transformational future has a systematically pathological attitude to information, to what we can learn, to what structures matter. To reject what is, and what has been, in the name of the imagined future is to reject the only sources of information we have in favour of something that is no source of information or understanding, because there is no information from the future.
Feminism is toxic when it encourages women to lean into their worst traits. It is especially so when it undermines men living up to their best ones.
What does the feminist perspective of men-as-problem, as oppressor class, of moralising the distinction between men and women, offer men that they cannot get from a cook, a cleaner and a hooker? It certainly isn’t respect or commitment.
From feminism to the transcult
Feminism’s refusal to deal with biological realities—not addressing issues around motherhood; not dealing with the differences between male and female sexuality and with persistent differences in capacities, patterns and preference; not recognising evolutionary novelties; not dealing with the reality that the women’s movement’s success came about by persuading men—means the ideology is also a poor framework for policy development.
It also made feminism a vector for the politics of the transformational future by re-moralising distinctions between groups. This is the pattern: if you criticise men as a class, that is feminism; if you criticise women as a class, that is misogyny. We now also have: if you criticise folk of low melanin content, that is anti-racism; if you criticise folk of high melanin content, that is racism—and so on.
The Transcult—with its revolt against biological contrainst based on the (stereotypical) gender in one’s head, its sterilising destruction of any possibility of biological parentage, its mountain of falsity requiring so much required affirmation and not noticing and stigmatisation of wrongful noticing, its elevation of feelings uber alles so that sentiment trumps science, its demand that other folk publicly accept trans people’s conceptions of themselves as being of the sex they are not—is a combination of the politics of the transformational future and the feminist revolt against biology.
No wonder the Transcult has become such a marker of prestige opinions while its most enthusiastically intolerant proponents are young, university-educated women.
Feminism has also systematically attacked freedom of association. Specifically, male freedom of association.
The ending of legal segregation in the US had an element of forced association. It eliminated the right to exclude on the basis of race. The forced association of school busing was judicially imposed (and has been something of a social disaster).
Schools with African-American teachers teaching African-American students modelled middle-class life strategies within the black community from which students could learn. Forcing African-American students into schools with Euro-American teachers made education and school authority into an “others” experience. Along with detaching schools from their communities, this forcing together of folk who did not get along seems to have set up a self-reinforcing, anti-education cultural loop amongst many African-American adolescents. Earlier educational advances have come to a screeching halt.
The sheer intensity of US racism—driven by racialisation policies that facilitated elite divide-favour-and-dominate strategies—probably made some element of forced association necessary. Feminist campaigns to systematically to end all-male social organisation had much less justification. Meanwhile, forced association has now become a standard pattern in all social justice campaigns. Every disadvantaged group claims that it is being treated like black Americans were treated under Jim Crow.
Having largely delegitimised male freedom of association, gender-critical feminists have found themselves short of male allies when trans activists attack their freedom of association. Unfortunately, feminists have often proved too invested in the valorisation of their own sex to notice that they are being subjected to what they themselves endorsed.
By investing in an ideology and movement based on elevating an imagined future over enduring structures, gender-critical feminists find that they cannot invoke enduring structures against the imperatives of the politics of the transformative future.
Meanwhile, other feminists have been busy displaying the extent to which women are not the solidarity sex by attacking gender-critical feminists as “transphobes”. That is, using ostentatious propriety as a weapon of relational aggression. So, engaging in mean-girl pile-ons to enforce norm dominance.
A clique of straight women—with some rather creepy male feminist allies; a rather striking number of whom have since been exposed as being, indeed, creeps—sought to mean-girl the boys and tomboys online fun away from them.
Gamergate has since been defined hostilely from the cultural commanding heights by the backlash rather than the original issue. This is the iron law of woke projection, and the fable of progressive innocence, in operation.
All-male associations are not only emotionally relaxing, or at least cathartic, for men. They also provide avenues for building confidence in norm enforcement.
Isolated and atomised men are less likely to enforce proper behaviourial norms on other men. Fatherless boys are disproportionately at risk of experiencing—or generating—social pathologies because of a lack of male-to-male socialisation and norm enforcement.
There is also the normal problem of political ideology. Activism needs people to be unhappy, dissatisfied, even fearful, so they are motivated, compliant, and more likely to donate. It is not in the interests of feminist activism that women achieve happiness. Dissatisfaction serves the advocacy-economy much better. One outcome of such activism is that women are now, on average, less happy than men.
It is better for the advocacy economy if women refuse to take any responsibility for social outcomes, projecting all the blame on men. That is, demand equal rights and benefits but refuse the responsibility that goes with them. That, after all, would display a sense of social solidarity. Freedom of action without responsibility for outcomes provides much of the appeal, and is political activism’s typical modus operandi.
Female aggression has higher levels of efficient self-deception. Intellectuals generally operate in milieus with high levels of efficient self-deception due to weak reality tests. Feminism is an intellectual product of women. Its levels of self-deception can be stratospheric.
A wide-ranging 2015 UK survey found that only nine per cent of women identified as feminist. A movement that has been rejected by over 90 per cent of its alleged identity group is not one that should have much persuasive power. Feminism, however, has become an elite movement with considerable elite pull (though not, sadly, the gender-critical variety). It still provides a happy home for prestige opinions and luxury beliefs. On what it is required to affirm and what it is not permissible to notice and so stigmatise as wrongful noticing.
More in common
The politics of joining the common citizenship club—of de-moralising the differences that undermine our common humanity—work. As the Emancipation Sequence demonstrates. The politics of the transformational future—of re-moralising differences that undermine common humanity—do not.
Wisdom traditions stress various forms of humility for good reasons. The more morally grandiose one’s vision of oneself, and what one is about, the higher the level of self-deception, and of aggression against others, is likely to be.
The filter of consciousness, including the limits to conscious intelligibility, make corrective self-awareness harder to achieve. The grandiose self-valorisation of Feminism, and related ideologies, make it harder still. These ideologies have become engines of grandiose unwisdom.
That no special ideology was needed to liberate women, the foundational lie of feminism, is one of those realisations that, once you start pulling on the thread, a whole lot of things unravel. The foundational lie that a special ideology is required for human flourishing is the basis of all transformational-future ideologies.
We Homo sapiens are simply not reliably good enough at abstract reasoning to build good societies on Theory. We absolutely cannot dispense with all embedded learning.
So, what do you need the special ideologies for? Motivating, justifying and coordinating social aggression. Especially the bullshit claim that “the problem” is Western civilisation. A falsehood that one can only maintain via an unreal criteria of judgement, one provided by conferring authority on a future-from-which-there-is-no-information.
Marx’s “relentless criticism of all that exists”—such a feature of Post-Enlightenment Progressivism (“wokery”)—means the relentless rejection of all embedded learning. Including the embedded learning of our evolved biological and social structures.
By pouring the spiritual into the social, via Marx’s materialist completion of Hegel’s history-as-becoming project, politics is turned from a transactional mechanism for managing societies into something toxic. It becomes a vehicle for meaning; that is, a religion substitute. Precisely because women tend to be concerned with protective propriety, women have been important for both sustaining existing religious systems and as converts to new ones, including religion-substitute politics.
Given that women live longer, are a majority of the electorate, increasingly dominate various industries such as education and publishing and, if they do not have children, have higher average incomes than men (due to their increasing dominance of higher education) the question arises: when are feminists going to stop whining?
The answer is never, because whining is a status play and a strategy for obtaining more authority and resources. For some, it’s also their income source—part of the advocacy economy of non-profits and embedded bureaucratic nodules that feed off spotting problems but providing no solutions. Such whining also means a refusal to start having adult conversations about properly discharging the social roles they now have but for which they refuse to take genuine responsibility.
The politics of the transformational future are always social-imperial politics, and aggression is a key element in all forms of imperialism.
Claims with little or no evidentiary support are advanced on the basis that failing to support them shows you are a person of bad feels. With a bodyguard of shut-up words to support evidence-free claims.
It would have never occurred to scriptwriters and show-runners for most of the history of films and television to boast about how they had written down/denigrated their female characters. In the world that feminism and feminisation has wrought, scriptwriters and show-runners are happy to boast about writing down male characters.
Devaluing the real
The way to devalue the real, to turn achievement into an object of contempt, is to make the imaginary one’s authoritative benchmark.
The foundational bullshit of requiring a special ideology generates more bullshit. Including seeing Western civilisation as the problem. This generates cartoon history, mythologising the past to support even more bullshit.
As time has marched on, as their politics become ever more self-deceptive politics of social aggrandisement, progressives have become the people of self-righteous bullshit, “supported” by ideas laundered through activist (so degraded) scholarship.
Making an imaginary future one’s moral benchmark and so reviling the sinful past wipes out any serious understanding of human achievement. It isolates and insulates you from understanding what human achievement is. How it is done. What it is made of and by whom.
Unfortunately, the politics of the imaginary future is a wonderful mechanism for seizing status, authority and power. Not having to defend anything real is a tremendous rhetorical advantage. The future that can be as perfect as one wants.
In the next few essays, I’ll explore how the welfare state and its associated institutions have colonised society.
* Due to the Christian sanctification of the Roman synthesis (single-spouse marriage, no cousin marriage, female consent for marriage, testamentary rights, suppressing kin groups, law is human).
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