Everyone’s triggered, everything’s fucked, and there’s no good way out of this mess. The reason why this one is deeper, and uglier, and more FUBAR than most or all previous culture war outcrops is rooted in the genes and memes of humanity itself, so it takes a lot of explaining to unpack it.
We Begin with Biology
Or, more appropriately, the genetic influences on the evolution of modern societal frameworks.
The first and primary obligation of a culture is to make babies and grow those babies into adults. I’m not at all saying that women’s role is to be baby factories — don’t go there. But it is an immutable fact that any culture throughout human history that stopped making babies would die out. All the other elements of its culture — art, literature, history, hierarchies, economics, rules of law and principle — would all disappear if the culture stopped making babies. They would all evaporate and be replaced by the culture next door that continued to make babies. This is a core feature of Darwinism and is scientifically inarguable.
What that means, is that women are objectively the most important gender. Humans produce very few offspring compared to other animals, and we have long gestation periods and extremely long development cycles to adulthood. If a village were to lose half its women in a tribal war, an epidemic, or similar, that village’s baby making capacity would be cut in half, it’s ability to repopulate horrendously damaged, and it’s likely to get rubbed into extinction compared to the village down the road. But if a village loses half its men, it’s really no big deal since the male side of the raw reproductive equation is pretty easy to provide. Sperm are cheap. This makes men far more expendable than women, biologically speaking. Women and children to the lifeboats first.
Wind the historical clock back thousands of years. The more successful tribes are tribes which delegate the more dangerous tribal tasks to the men, since they can afford to lose them. Hunting the woolly mammoth is better done by those with penises instead of wombs because getting a womb trampled is way worse for the village than losing a penis or three. This model scales throughout most of history, most particularly with war, where we adopt our wooly mammoth hunting principles to hunt other people, killing other tribes, and laying dominion over their tribal resources. And since being a peaceful tribe next door to a warlike tribe is a tremendously losing proposition, game theory wise, we’re stuck with this model basically from tribal history to the present day. Men are prominently featured in the dangerous and deadly occupations for a reason.
Male expendability has some other interesting Darwinistic features. If we presume the standard model of evolutionary theory is correct, then variability in all offspring is a feature, not a bug, because it means you have a wider trait profile in your population. That wider trait profile is necessary to adapt to environmental changes, not just in the classical sense of “the weather,” but also in social or political environments, variations in resource scarcity, and such. But variability means randomness, and you’re better off mathematically if more of the randomness is concentrated in the expendable half of the population, which is why we see more trait variability in males of many species. You roll your dice (more of them anyway) on the Y chromosome, and if you roll bad who cares, they’re expendable.
So that’s the biological backdrop into which all societies are “installed,” or within which all societies “evolve,” depending on your point of view. Males have more physical strength, wield the power to kill, and are expendable. Protecting the women is paramount because you can’t lose your baby creation capacity. The traditional gender roles emerge from this, where the unfair obligation to make babies is traded for security and protection at the hands of the expendables.
Now Let’s Talk Sociology
Or, more appropriately, the genetic influences on the evolution of modern societal frameworks, Part Two.
We’ve spoken before on HWFO about modeling human societies as superorganisms instead of collections of individuals, and the model works well, but the atom of this superorganism is still the individual, and the individual still has Darwinistic drives in play. At the society level, all the individuals within the society benefit when the society works together, but at the individual level, each individual benefits more by comparison if they can establish a higher position within that society. The genders are granted different tools by our biological backdrop to jockey for this position. Men are granted strength, and the inherent willingness to be expendable, which translates into greater risk taking. Women are burdened with the obligations of the womb, which is entirely unfair and no fault of their own, but to compensate they must develop a different skill set to exist in this sea of men with physical power. So instead of the ability to dominate, to jockey for social position, they cultivate the ability to manipulate. Most especially, the ability to manipulate men.
This underlying social dynamic has existed for thousands of years, and it flows from biology and game theory. All traditional societies have some subconscious understanding of this, and all prevailing religious texts have some set of rules and procedures and beliefs and indoctrinations to manage it. That’s not to say that all religions, or even one religion, are true. Nor to say that they all manage it in the same way. Only to say that any of the myriad of historical religions which didn’t have some functional way to approach this dichotomy died out in favor of the ones which did. Through Darwinistic action.
I’m most familiar with the Judeo-Christian model, having been born in the US. Vaguely defined, its features generally look like this. Obey your parents, honor your wife, listen to your husband, form life-long pair bonds before you ever have sex, be fruitful and multiply, and for God’s sake, random drunken hookups are right out. Indoctrinate your children to the black book on the shelf once a week, so they can pass the same indoctrinations down, and we don’t have to worry about the sorts of drunken frat party gang rapes we warned you about in those chapters on Sodom and Gomorrah.
Disclaimer: there’s a good case to be made that some people who claim to be following the book are just using the book as cover for immoral shit. Catholic priests, Westboro, and the like, but the overall program was there, and mostly worked, because it got us this far.
Then some do-gooder invents the latex condom, and the pill, and feminism, and the sexual revolution, so we throw the whole thing out. (author’s note: I am a fan of the condom, and the pill, and some but certainly not all flavors of feminism) But our minds have evolved such that the white space in them seeks indoctrinations of a religious nature, because indoctrinations make thinking way easier, so we have to fill the void with something. Post-modernism, social constructionism, and social justice, form a pyramid that constitutes the world’s first crowdsourced “religion,” which is a topic unto itself we will probably revisit later. It occupies the same brain space that religion used to, feeds us indoctrinations to act upon just like religion used to, and in many parts is just as divergent from hard science as religions are. But some people like it, so they adopt it, which is fine, because we have freedom of religion here.
And the drunken hookups ensue. Free love yo.
(author’s note: I am not ideologically opposed to safe and consensual drunken hookups)
Now we have a new mode of societal sexual interaction, concocted from whole cloth, that takes place within this prior demonstrated framework of male domination and female manipulation. The Harvey Weinstein thing is a great pilot case. Weinstein trades power for sex, the actresses are encouraged by their peers and agents to trade sex for power, and everyone who plays along with this ugly arrangement gets fabulously rich. Thankfully, some actresses were able to still have great careers after stonewalling the guy. The missing element in the public dialog about that whole wretched deal is there are very likely many other stories of women who turned Weinstein down and whose careers didn’t pan out. They’re objectively the most moral in the entire arrangement, having refused the arrangement up front, but we don’t know or care who they are because they never got rich acting in movies. Yay media.
And the religious faction sits in the nosebleed seats eating trans-fat-soaked movie theater popcorn, saying “I told you so.”
I’m not saying the sexual revolution caused this sort of behavior. I’m sure this sort of behavior goes back hundreds or thousands of years, particularly in power centers such as royal courts and such. But the sexual revolution certainly offered an operating framework for it, because we threw the big black book of “don’t be an adulterer” away.
So that’s the backdrop.
This is Social Disaster Stew Par Excellence, decades if not centuries if not millennia in the making. It would be hard to intentionally create a more divisive situation. You’d need to fly passenger airliners into buildings or something.
To understand the horrendously primal animus going on with the Kavanaugh appointment, we need to take a close look at the modern Red Tribe and Blue Tribe operating parameters, based on their indoctrination paths.
Kavanaugh Freakoutery Analysis — Blue Tribe
A few of the Blue Tribe still maintain religious leanings, but certain religious teachings are heavily suppressed by the tribe. “Don’t be an adulterer” features near the top of the suppressed value list, within their moral frame. Further, a wide swath of the Blue Tribe has adopted the PM/SC/SJ triangle mentioned above, which heavily trumpets the problems of the “Male Domination” half of our species gender interaction mechanics, sometimes very rightfully so. But it eschews, ignores, or actively suppresses the “Female Manipulation” side of the equation, probably as an evangelism tactic. What emerges from this single sided approach is the catchphrase “Believe All Women.”
Before we move forward, let me be clear on “sometimes rightfully so.” Here’s one simple example from my experience. A friend was having a bachelorette party my wife attended, went to a bar, and the bartender viciously spiked their drinks. Some of the women in the group speculated that a patron might have slipped something more than alcohol into the equation, which may be true, because this group were practiced drinkers. A few of the women at the party thankfully identified the dangerous situation, called “the men” who were nearby playing Axis and Allies, (I was rocking a vicious Japan strategy at the time) and we had to organize to pick them up before something bad happened. Total SNAFU, which could have turned out much worse than it did. Years later, when my sister in law had her bachelorette party, I was asked to chaperone, and did so gladly. This sort of crap should not happen. I do not have any experience with drunken gang rapes, nor even with men I know spiking drinks, but I’m positive it happens.
Women within the “drunk hookups are okay” world live with this sort of fear, and the fear is real, and is legitimate, and when the allegations on Kavanaugh come out, they are seriously triggered. Women outside the “drunk hookups are okay” world probably live with similar if less prescient fear. And rightfully so, because these sorts of things do happen, objectively speaking. Because biology. Power relationships. All that crap.
Kavanaugh Freakoutery Analysis — Red Tribe
The Red Tribe has a bundle of different indoctrinations that are being similarly triggered. Being more traditional, the Red Tribe still has elements where religious indoctrinations aren’t suppressed. These elements are still in the nosebleeds with their popcorn, saying “see, drunk hookups are bad, says so right here in the book.” But the sexual revolution has populated much of the Red Tribe as well, without the associated PM/SC/SJ indoctrinations, so they still see the other half of the equation. The “Female Manipulation” half. A fair number of these are men, or (not infrequently female) friends and family of men, who have been at the butt end of pregnancy entrapment, screwed by our legal system’s very unbalanced approach to divorce and child custody, or have been generally fucked over by what Bill Burr identifies as “the epidemic of gold-digging whores.”
Further, the Blue Tribe push to turn college campus sexual assault tribunals into kangaroo courts in which the defendant has no say and no ability to defend themselves, and the recent Red Tribe reaction to that trend, stoke the fire.
These elements of the Red Tribe are triggered by the mere phrase “Believe All Women.” And rightfully so, because “all” women are not to be believed, objectively speaking. Because biology. Power relationships. All that crap.
Social Disaster Stew
And into this horrible, disjointed kettle of boiling anger and rage, we drop the Brett Kavanaugh thing. Blue Tribers are triggered because they could see Ford’s claims happening to them or people they love. Red Tribers are triggered because they could see Kavanaugh’s claims happening to them, or people they love. Everyone reacts out of fear and anger. Nobody listens to each other. The testimony of both Ford and Kavanaugh seems believable to people in the middle, in isolation of each other, but they don’t marry up. On closer inspection, the testimony of both has errors and inconsistencies, which the other tribe points to as the smoking gun. And into our kettle, we throw the Blue Media spice that Kavanaugh’s appointment will immediately make abortion illegal, which may or may not be true, and the recipe is set.
There’s no good way out of this. This is Social Disaster Stew Par Excellence, decades if not centuries if not millennia in the making. It would be hard to intentionally create a more divisive situation. You’d need to fly passenger airliners into buildings or something.
And much like our prior discussion on the Social Media Catastrophe, we come to the end, where you, the reader, has suffered through over two thousand words of culture war analysis waiting for the totally awesome payoff, where I let you in on the great secret that’s going to fix the problem, and you share the article with your friends.
But unfortunately, like that article, I have none. There’s no possible way that the FBI can unpack the truth about a drunken hookup party three decades ago that nobody remembers, no matter how much time they spend on it, and everybody knows this already. The Blue Tribe will call for more investigations as a delaying tactic to push the appointment past the midterms. The Red Tribe will identify that tactic for what it is. The tribes will dig in. People will scream at each other. Households which are tribally divided will move closer to divorce.
Best I can figure is to turn off the news and suspend your Facebook account for a month. Or a year.