Saturday, 11 September 2010

Chapter One - Why Men Are Not Feminists

It’s a strange fact that when Feminists used to take to the streets agitating for sexual equality, you rarely see men marching along with them. You can find both sexes protesting about worker’s rights, race equality, and the rights of homosexuals, but Feminism? If you find men involved they always seem to want to keep quiet about it. The only man I heard openly advocating Feminism was the English poet Robert Graves. Yet he was criticised by many Feminists because they claimed his brand of Feminism was not about equality, but that women should rule the world.
Feminism is about the equality of the sexes and this makes perfect sense to most women. From the time of Mary Wollstonecraft’s A Vindication Of The Rights Of women in 1792, until now, women have written countless book on sex equality. Yet we don’t find many male authors writing about Feminism, unless it is about why it can’t work. (like The Inevitability of Patriarchy). Nor do we find many men protesting on the street about this either. Men either make jokes about Feminism and political correctness or claim that Feminism has gone too far and men now are being discriminated against! Or they just keep quiet about the whole subject.
In my personal experience I have found that Feminists themselves regard many men who voice any sympathy about Feminism with deep suspicion. Most Feminists groups have a very strict rule about not allowing men into their groups. Which is a strange rule for a group that advocates, equality, political correctness and anti-discrimination. Though I can understand why they don’t want men in their groups. There is admittedly the problem of some, big I am, turning up and lecturing them on why Feminism won’t work, or attempt to take over. This was the experience of Feminists during the 1970s. They then allowed men into their groups, but even very sympathetic and well-intended men still tended to dominate the conversation and compete with women within the group. For this reason most Feminist groups ended up banning men.
The most famous case of this was the Greenham Common Peace Camp. In 1981 a group of 36 women started a protest against the deployment of cruise missiles at an American Air Base, at Greenham Common. This began a mass protest of both men and women but soon the women started to ban men from their camps around the site. Some camps placed a complete ban on men while others only allowed men to join them to protest during the daytime. This was given as one of the reasons why the Greenham Common protest was so successful, because men didn’t interfere with the unity of the women.
Yet the very fact of banning men undermines the Feminist ideal of sexual equality. Because it is a admission by Feminists that they cannot make equality with men work, even in just Feminist meetings and protest movements. So if they are willing to acknowledge that they cannot create equality with men in groups that actually advocate sexual equality. Now do they expect to do the same in all other aspects of life?
So why is sexual equality strongly advocated by women but men show little interest? The obvious reason would be that women have something to gain through sexual equality. Whist men have something to lose. That is to say, men would lose dominance over women. While women have progressed from a position of servitude to that of equal opportunities in the West at least. This is true in all aspects of life. If you are a serf, slave or live in poverty, then equality sounds like a really great idea. If on the other hand, you are a wealthy member of the ruling elite, then of course, equality is a very dangerous, stupid and totally impracticable idea.
Perhaps this argument might be a bit too hard on men. After all it was 100% male governments in the early 20th century who voted to give women equal voting rights. It was also male dominated legislative chambers who voted to pass equal opportunity laws for women in the 1960s and 70s. So it does seem that the majority of men in the Western world are not actually opposed to Feminism, and secretly many men seem to support it. Yet even men who will support Feminist women, do not seem that enthusiastic about sexual equality. The problem might be that equality is a totally alien concept to the masculine mind.
For many men the whole of life is a big competitive game. In fact some men do talk about, “the game of life”. The only trouble with treating life as one big game is that there will always be winners and losers. Which doesn’t seem to be a problem if you are a winner, but a real problem if you happen to be a loser. If you happen to come from a wealthy family and have gone to university and have a well paid job, like a lawyer. Then you are not going to see a problem with treating life as just one big game, because you are on the winning team. It is of interest that many people who do live in poverty are contemptuously referred to as losers by some of the well off. They will even go as far as to claim that it is people’s own fault if they live in poverty. Forgetting that in a world of winners and losers, you cannot have winners without losers.
In fact in any competitive game the losers always far outnumber winners. We can see this in any sporting competition you might have hundreds of individuals or teams enter it, but in the end you can only have one winner. So in a competition like the football World Cup it was started with hundreds of teams seeking qualification, but all finally got defeated and knocked out, except for the single winner. The same is true of the game of life, the poor and powerless far outnumber the rich and powerful.
Men have dominated our world for the last five thousand years. Yet if we go through every society ruled by men, what we don’t find is any form of equality. Even political movements that have set out with the firm intention to create equality have totally failed in this. If we go back to the English Civil War of 1642-8 between the King Charles 1 and Parliament, it was started because of the dictatorial behaviour of Charles 1 who wanted to dissolve Parliament and rule alone. This created a bitterly fought war, (the worst internal war in English history) and guess what happened? Cromwell, the commander-in-chief of the Parliament forces became dictator and it was HE who ended up dissolving Parliament! Which was supposed to be what the Civil war was all about. The idealists of the time agitated to create an equal society, but they soon ended up in jail or on the scaffold. (Even equal rights between men and women were briefly discussed before Cromwell took control). The dictatorship of Cromwell was so bad that within a few years after his death, Charles 2 the son of the hated Charles 1, was invited back to rule England.
Egalitarianism was also the aim of the French Revolution in the 18th century, yet again all they created was a dictatorship and a reign of terror ruled by people like Robespierre and later Napoleon. Who was so competitive that he tried to conquer the world. The same was to happen in the communist revolutions of the 20th century where brutal dictators like Stalin and Mao Tse-tung took power. All these revolutions ended up creating tyrants, far worse than the ones they replaced. So the lesson here was that violent revolution is probably the worse possible way to try and create equality. Because all you do is to replace one group of very competitive men with another group of competitive men. What is more, the new rulers are likely to be also very violent men, because this was the way they obtained power.
The exception to this rule is the American Revolution. Where although the commander-in-chief of the revolutionary army George Washington did also became the President. Fortunately unlike Cromwell he didn’t lose sight of why the revolution was fought. In his term of office he showed he believed in Democracy and wasn’t interested in becoming a dictator. Another exception was Marshell Tito who although he was an extremely ruthless and violent partisan leader during World War Two. When he became dictator of Yugoslavia he turned out to be a reasonably enlightened leader. He was able to keep the Balkans in peace while he was in power, but unfortunately when he died the whole country split apart into violence. So it is possible for men of violence to become reasonable enlighten rulers but unfortunately they are a small minority.
Men themselves have seen that our very unequal world is a problem, and have attempted to do something about it through political movements like Communism, Socialism and Democracy. Unfortunately in all these systems only Democracy has worked. Though even with Democracy it took a long time to find a way to make it possible. The ancient Greeks and Romans tried it out, but it created so many disputes, it was finally given up as impossibility. So people switched back to dictatorship and kingship. Men have for a long time been searching for better ways to rule their societies. It is a sign of progress that Democracy was finally made to work in modern times after it was abandoned two thousand years ago in ancient Greece and Rome.
The problem with the failure of Communism and Socialism as well as the failure of Democracy in ancient times is that it takes away all hope of creating a just and equal society. Capitalists claim that competition is essential to motivate men. Some even go, as far to claim, “greed is good”. This is perfectly true from the viewpoint of a wealthy businessman. From the viewpoint of those living in poverty, greed is a source of frustration, envy and even hatred. So it means that in positive way greed can motivate men to work hard to achieve their desires. Or in a negative way it can motivate men towards hatred, envy, crime and violent revolution. Also greed is not the best motivation for political leaders, as it is more likely to make them corrupt, or to become conquers of other nations. While competitive desires seem to motive politicians to want power for its own sake. That is to say they have become a winner, (the champion politician of their country) and the exercise of power is all they are interested in.
Yet we cannot just blame dictators and world leaders for all the ills of the world. They are ordinary competitive men who just happen to get to the top of the heap. All men, it seems, like nothing better to do than to be involved in competitive games with each other. If they are not playing competitive games with other men, then they like to watch them, as we can see with the great popularity of sport on TV. Because of this, it is men’s competitive instinct that has made capitalism such a success in our world. One of the reasons why Communism and Socialism failed was that it didn’t allow competitiveness in industry. Resulting in communist industry stagnating and becoming very inefficient, while in the Western world industry was made very efficient and progressive by the competition between industrial companies. Democracy is also only possible because of competition between political parties for power. That is the upside of competition but it also has a terrible downside.
Rulers of countries have for centuries competed with each other so vigorously that they have gone to war with each other. Conquers like Alexander the Great, Julius Caesar, Genghis Khan, Napoleon and Hitler have conquered and destroyed many countries and caused the deaths of millions of people. Just so they can proudly say, “wow, look how many countries I’ve conquered”. In fact their attitude doesn’t seem to be much different to say a famous tennis player who has won the grand slam, and wants to be remembered as the greatest tennis player of all time. The difference is that the only harm a great sporting hero causes is the bruised egos of some of his opponents. With a great conqueror we are talking about widespread death, destruction and suffering of millions of people. So for five thousand years of human history, competition between countries and rulers has led to countless wars and acts of genocide. This became so bad in the 20th century that whole cities were destroyed in the Second World War through aerial bombing. As well as the many instances of genocide practised in Nazi Germany, Cambodia, The Balkans and Rwanda. Also in the Cold War between NATO counties and the Soviet Union both sides armed themselves with enough nuclear weapons to destroy the planet many times over.
The competition between the USSR and the USA became really crazy during the Cold War. In the 1950s and early 60s, there was competition about who could produce the biggest nuclear explosion. The Soviet Union won this one. A hydrogen bomb test conducted by the Soviet Union in 1961 detonated with an explosive force of 50 megatons, or 3300 times the power of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs, which were “only” 1-1.5 kilotons. The winning Soviet explosion was so large that it punched through atmosphere above it, right into outer space. It frightened both sides so much they decided to give up on this, one-up-man-ship game, as scientists on both sides informed their leaders that a bigger explosion might do permanent damage to the biosphere. There was also a concern that nuclear testing in the atmosphere was producing radiation fall out. Even though the politicians of the time claimed, “that there was no scientific proof that fall out from nuclear bombs was harmful to humans.” How many times since have we the public receive reassurances like this? Anyway you can’t let little problems like the radiation poisoning of whole countries, get in the way of being able to proudly say, “we built the biggest bomb in the world”. Can you?
Then there was the space race where both sides spent billions of dollars just to get the first man on the moon. As well as a competition about who had the most nuclear missiles. At the end of the Cold War the USSR had 39,000 nuclear warheads while USA had “only” 24,000. Why both sides needed so many nuclear weapons was never made clear. It was just another case of the competitive spirit among men getting completely out of hand. Yet because of it, for four decades from the 1950s to the 1980s people all over the world lived in fear of a Third World War that would wipe out the whole human race.
There was even one case where a defect in the defence computer of the Soviet Union, told its operators that they were under missile attack from the USA. Fortunately the man in charge knew that the computer wasn’t reliable and waited for confirmation from other sources, before he would give the order to launch a counter strike. He was then thrown out of the military for disobeying orders! Still it was better than being court marshalled and then shot, as would normally happen in the USSR. I suppose the only consolation he had, was that he is the only man ever; who can claim he single-handedly saved the world. It is total insanity that because of fierce competition between the super powers, we came that close to committing global suicide. The Americans indirectly admitted to this insanity by naming their nuclear strategy M.A.D (Mutually Assured Destruction).
This then means that men’s competitive instinct rules out completely any chance of men creating an equal society or overcoming the suffering of poverty. Because it is natural for men to compete with each other about, “who is boss around here”? We live in a “winner takes it all” world where the rich and powerful want more and more power and wealth and the poor get nothing.
USA is the most competitive capitalist country in the world; this undoubtedly makes it the most dynamic and go-ahead state in the world. The downside of this ferocious competition is that 0.5% of the population of the USA own as much as the bottom 90%. It is no wonder the rich and wealthy like capitalism so much. It is these individuals that own all TV stations, film companies and newspapers, so it is natural for them to use the media to sing the praises of capitalism as much as they can. USA is the richest country in the world yet 45 million of its people live below the poverty line and over 40% have no medical cover.
To add insult to injury the rich don’t even pay taxes. In most Western countries an entire industry has been created to help the rich to minimise their payment of taxation. So successful has this industry become that accountants make a mockery of taxation laws and use myriad of personal allowances, pension rights, deductible expenses and reinvestment allowances to allow their rich clients not to pay taxation. As one American millionairess once remarked, "Only poor people pay taxes".
The rich also put their money in overseas accounts, well away from the reach of the taxman. The point is that this means that it is only the poor and middle class have to pay the taxes, to keep the infrastructure of individual countries going, as well as to pay for the trillion dollar arms industry. The reason why this happens it that this wealthy rule the world, and so can make up their own rules and laws to suit themselves. It is also the big advantage of globalisation, as it makes it so much easier for the super rich to dodge taxation.
We live in a world where, it seems “nice guys come last”. The fact is that you are unlikely to be the leader of a country, a religion or international business by being a compassionate, caring and loving person. The only exception to this I know is Nelson Mandela, he became president of South Africa because the previous white minority government was under pressure to give in to majority rule. Fortunately because Nelson Mandela the leader of the biggest party was a genuine forgiving and caring man, it was easy for the white politicians to hand power over to him. So we had a non-violent hand over of power to majority rule. Had Nelson Mandela been a different sort of person, the white minority in power may of wanted to fight it out, like they did in Zimbabwe. This was because they had to deal with a very different sort of leader in Robert Mugabe, who has since become another brutal dictator.
So it is possible for a caring and compassionate politician to make a positive difference to our world. Unfortunately Nelson Mandela is more the exception that proves the rule. Most politicians get to these positions of power through being ruthless, aggressive and devious. Political leaders even make claims that they are very tough and ruthless to get votes. Then we wonder why we live in an unjust and uncaring world. The point is that because we live in a world where only the most competitive, ruthless and Machiavellian people get to the top, it is no wonder that equality seems totally impossible in our world.
So where does this leave Feminism? Nowhere unfortunately. Today in the Western world we have laws to enforce equal opportunity. Now note the phrasing here, it says equal OPPORTUNITY not sex EQUALITY. Yes, by law women can in theory be equal to men, the catch is, women have to play the man’s game and behave like competitive men.
This is the problem identified by Feminists themselves. Over more than a generation after the first equal opportunity laws were passed in the Western world, women on average are still paid far less then men, while the vast majority of the top jobs are still in the hands of men. If we look at this problem worldwide we find that women only own 1% of the world’s wealth. This means that 99% of world’s wealth is still owned by men. It makes you realise that the great progress that women seem to have made over the 20th century for equality, is still very much an illusion. Perhaps the only thing you can say about it that it is better than perhaps the 0001% that existed in the 19th century. Where women by law had few rights to own any property and didn’t even have the right to vote. The problem for Feminists is that if women want to get top jobs they have to act like a Margaret Thatcher and become totally ruthless and uncaring. It seems only a small minority of women want to do this.
The solution given by Feminists is that we have to change the whole structure of society, because every social system in the world was created by men, for men. So they reflect men’s competitive instincts and strengths. This then means if we have Democracy we have to have ferocious competition between political parties for power. If we don’t have this, Democracy is eroded to the degree that it doesn’t matter which party you vote for, the policies are the same. (Which is true in both the UK and the USA today). The same is true for the capitalist system. Capitalism only works while there is again ruthless competition between companies. If one company becomes too successful it will take over its competitors or put them out of business. Then it becomes a monopoly with no competition. Or if you are only left with a few large companies they will start to wonder why they need to compete with each other, when it is so much easier to co-operate. So they form a secret cartel and we soon have price fixing and complacency. This has happen in all the older industries. In the first half of the 20th century there were hundreds of car and aircraft companies competing with each other for customers. At the end of the 20th century there are only two large companies in the world that make commercial airlines and only a handful of car manufacturers, who are all in each other’s pockets.
This then means that if the Feminists have their way and ruthless competition is eliminated, then men would be at a serious disadvantage, because without competition men do seem to lose interest in what they are doing. This is clearly demonstrated in communist countries where industries stagnated because of the lack of competition. Communists only did well in competing or fighting against the USA, as we can see in Vietnam, where a third world country defeated a super power. (Though admittedly they were well armed by the Soviet Union). This was also true in the space race. In fact during most of the 1950s and 60s the USSR was far ahead of USA in putting the first satellite, the first man, the first woman and the first space station in space. They only missed out on the main prize of putting the first man on the moon, and since then have lagged far behind. Now, without the competition between the Soviet Union and America, space exploration has stagnated.
So it seems competition is essential for men to be efficient. The problem is that competition can lead to possible global suicide, as we saw in the Cold War. It also creates a world of winners and losers, where the majority of the people of the world are losers in that they live in poverty. While the small minority of winners keep all the wealth of the world in their greedy hands. Another problem is that in a competitive world everyone is so busy looking after number one and no one is looking where they are going. This can create unbelievable cock-ups.
In 1960 the oil producing countries of Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela got together to form a cartel called OPEC because they wanted to prevent the trend of falling oil prices. Later on other oil producing counties also joined. Then in 1973 Egypt and Syria attacked Israel to try and regain all the territory they had lost in the previous Six-Day War of 1967. At first the war went well for the Arab states and Israel appealed to USA for more weapons. President Nixon acceded to this request and publicly proposed a $2.2 billion military aid package for Israel. This greatly angered the Arab countries that decided to use the power of OPEC as an oil weapon.
OPEC imposed an oil embargo on USA and Europe and agreed a $3.00 a barrel price rise. In the end this didn’t make any difference and Israel won the war. Yet as a result of the greatly increased oil price OPEC countries found themselves awash with so much money, they didn’t know what to do with it. Some of them bought brand new toys like the latest weapons that arms dealers could supply them, and what was left over they invested in international banks. Now this was to cause a big problem because the banks didn’t know what to do with the surplus money either, until someone had the bright idea of loaning the money to poor third world countries. The theory being that developing countries would be able to invest in projects to industrialise their countries. That was the theory; the reality was a total disaster.
Most third world countries are ruled by corrupt dictatorships, so the money that was lent, went into buying arms, and starting a third world arms race. Which suited countries like Britain, as arms are its biggest export earner. As well as the USA because it is, the biggest arms exporter in the world. Money was also squandered on large inappropriate projects. Which again suited many Western governments, as it was Western engineering companies that built dams and other grandiose schemes the politicians thought up. Also unfortunately much of the money simply ended up in the pockets of corrupt officials. The only exception to this for a while was India, which was ruled at the time by Indira Gandhi. Although she took the opportunity to borrow from the World Bank she was prudent enough to make sure she was able to pay back later everything she borrowed. Unfortunately she was assassinated in 1984 and her son Rajiv Gandhi became leader. He didn’t have any of his mother’s prudence and borrowed heavily and soon found he was unable to pay the money back, plunging India into debt.
The result was that all these third world countries were unable not only to pay back the original debt but unable to pay back the INTEREST on the debt. The IMF and World Bank stepped in and demanded that these countries started to go over to planting cash crops like cotton for export money and not crops to feed their own people. They also demanded cut backs on government spending. The result was these governments cut back on health care and education for the people. (You couldn’t seriously expect them to cut back on far more important things like arms, bribes and high salaries for important government officials, could you?) Which was a disaster because without proper education for the people, there is no way a developing country can catch up with the developed world. Also without proper health care, and using land to grow cash crops for export, there has been an increase in the mortality rate of people in the third world through disease and starvation.
The scale of this tragedy can been seen by the following statistics. Internationally, 815 million people worldwide go hungry. We live on a planet where 55% of the 12 million child deaths each year are caused by malnutrition. And it’s getting worse. According to the United Nations, the poorest countries are worse off now, than they were 30 years ago.
The irony of this is that if any third world country wants to have a fight with its neighbour or have a civil war, guns and a limitless supply of ammunition are readily available. Yet money for education, heath care is in short supply for these countries, but then you got to get your priorities right haven’t you? You cannot deny men the fun of playing with exciting toys like machine guns; tanks and flamethrowers can you?
Yet we have to be fair about this, men in the last few hundred years have made progress. Back in the 18th century it was commonplace for criminals to be flogged, tortured and executed for minor offences. People would die of starvation in the streets of major European cities and slavery was still practised. All this extreme brutality has slowly been banned in the West by exclusively male governments. This means that men in power are capable of compassion for their fellow human beings.
It means that men do have a choice. They are more than capable of being
extremely brutal, as we have seen in so many cases of torture, violence and genocide even in our world of today. Yet this is not true of all men and we can find many examples of men who are capable of caring for others. Philanthropists like William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and Granville Sharp (1735-1813) who devoted their lives to abolishing slavery or John Barnardo (1845-1905) who set up homes for destitute children. Are examples of this. Yet a man doesn’t have to be a wealthy philanthropist to be caring of others. Many ordinary men are caring of others. Unfortunately not enough of the loving and compassionate people get into positions of power to create a peaceful and caring world.
So what causes men to become extremely brutal while others devote their lives to caring for others? The simplistic answer is that some men are good while others are evil. Which explains nothing and this explanation does more harm than good. A better explanation comes from evolutionary theory, the study of early humans and primate studies. This science tells us where we come from and why we are like we are. Unfortunately these studies have also been distorted through sexual bias by male academics, who are blinded to the role of women and the feminine in the evolution of the human species. A more balanced approach would give us a far deeper insight to the human condition.
This is something I will explore in the following chapters. Showing that if we are aware of the masculine bias in evolutionary theory, history and early human studies. We can discover why men have created a world of conflict, violence and suffering and what can be done to change this.

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