UPDATES: The Real "Dangerous Radicals"
Thinking this aloud is beginning to make me think it’s not a young male problem we have, but a young female problem.
My last essay, “The Greatest Divergence,” received a lot of feedback, so thank you all for your readership and engagement. It doesn’t surprise me at all this topic drew a lot of attention.
Before getting to reader commentary, I do want to clarify one point and amplify another. I want to clarify why I spent a lot of time talking about South Korea: it’s the only real-world example we have of what happens when it all goes so badly off the rails in terms of the male-female political divide. However, I also noted that the South Korea example isn’t useful to us in the West because it’s such an extreme. South Korea is itself a society of extremes, whether it comes to drinking, sex, or smoking.
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Bear in mind also that South Korea’s fertility crisis began decades ago for reasons unrelated to feminism. I think the sexual-political divide will manifest differently in the U.S. and West; South Korea is headed for a quiet death, which is quite fitting for a culture that emphasizes suffering in silence. The U.S. and the West is more volatile, so you’re probably going to see a civil war or revolution, as Rudyard “Whatifalthist” Lynch concludes.
Ironically, this might have the effect of preserving our long-term viability; the shock of violent upheaval will straighten things out and possibly even thin the herd of people who’ve completely lost their minds, macabre as that is to say. Our birth rates might not improve significantly, and our society will likely see higher rates of immorality in the short term, but maybe the people who ought to be breeding will be the only ones who will. Our population pyramid is still in good shape; this ought to blunt a lot of the impact and give us room for recovery, which South Korea absolutely doesn’t have.
The point I want to amplify is that in the West, the divergence is driven by women. It just is and this is the most important part of the story. I feel like I provided abundant statistical data to show it’s young women who suddenly began changing their minds around 2014. I’m going to delve deeper into that later.
Do We Have A Young Female Problem?
First, to the feedback. Let’s start with longtime reader, commenter, and Substacker “Brian Villaneuva.” He writes:
Women derive a disproportionate share of the benefits of civilization. Why? Because the alternative to natural law is jungle law. Women don't do well under jungle law. In the jungle, might makes right. The majority of men can overpower almost any woman and make her do what he wants. An old joke comes to mind: “God created men and women; Smith and Wesson made them equal.” We laugh because we know it's partially true.
For those of you who don’t know, Smith & Wesson is an American firearms manufacturer. The joke is underpinned by the fact there exists a disparity in strength between men and women which favors the former. The existence of guns levels the playing field between the two. And it’s true - guns have saved the lives of women countless times in the face of attack by violent men.
Anyway, my point isn’t that women should buy guns. The point is that men are biologically stronger than women and no amount of retconning history or magnifying the margins will change that. So it’s strange to see women have become among civilization’s most fervent opponents. If they think our society is “oppressive” and “patriarchal,” I have to wonder what they consider a viable alternative. Even matriarchies relied on men - every society needs a share of expendable manpower - and gender roles not only existed, but were well-defined. Again, not trying to get too deep into the cultural talk here, but today’s feminists deny the importance of male roles in society, over-emphasize the role of women, while also rejecting the concept of gender roles altogether.
In line with leftism in general, none of it makes sense, and it’s not supposed to. For our purposes, it suffices to say feminism wants one thing, but in actuality is creating another - a feral, survival-of-the-fittest society. I thought we were trying to get away from that?
More from Brian:
Sexual equality is a function of natural-law philosophy (the innate dignity of every human being) and industrial technology (the separation of personal strength from economic and physical safety.) Break either of these and women may not suffer first, but they will suffer most. Those women who are leading the charge to undo Western civilization are sawing off the branch they are sitting on. As you said: ‘many of the progressive values we regard as sacrosanct today don’t survive in more feral environments.”
I believe this with every fiber of my being: Western Civilization is the best deal both men and women ever had. Yet to create a society that creates maximal benefit for both sexes, a certain amount of reality-denial needed to occur. Every society engages in reality-denial to an extent (it’s kind of necessary to get people to live together in peace), but I think Western Civilization, especially under liberalism, practices reality-denial to an excessive degree. It’s one thing to say, “Men and women should have the same legal rights,” it’s another to say, “Men and women are the same.” One clearly requires blatant denial of reality, because differences between men and women aren’t socially-defined, they’re biologically-defined. Remember that the next time someone on the Left professes an undying love of Science.
Another point rarely acknowledged -- you're on a roll today, Max. The most basic job of every society (even animals) is to “produce, raise and acculturate the next generation”. Fail at this and your society dies. This requires cooperation between the sexes, which the the Mars/Venus thing makes challenging at any time. Placing men and women is direct economic competition for a limited pool of resources (a pool which may even start shrinking soon) makes that needed cooperation far harder.
Whether sexual reproduction (and therefore society itself) can survive sexual equality is very much debatable at this point. As the father of 3 girls, I lament this but still must accept its potential veracity.
Why thank you, Brian! And yes, this right here is the crisis. The argument made in favor of women entering the workforce en masse was equality, but in practical terms, it created a virtually unlimited labor pool. The gigantic American economy didn’t shrug off the effects of it, either. I’ve mentioned time and again how, in the early 1970s, economic growth and median male income diverged and wages haven’t kept up with inflation. What do you think happened in the early 1970s?
Couple that with immigration and you see how eventually everyone loses. But at least we all lose equally! Except that’s not entirely true, either. Women can give birth, men cannot (that transgenderism nonsense is exactly that), meaning men’s contribution to society is work and providing protection. The fact men have comprised much of the workforce outside the home is a matter of biology. This means having women participate in the workforce outside the home makes little sense. It also makes having women do dangerous work, like fighting wars, illogical.
This seems like a dangerously reactionary mindset. But that’s only because we’ve chosen to deny biological reality. This willful denial has brought society to its logical conclusion, where men are now competing with women for economic gain. If men cannot work, cannot own property, and don’t have their interests represented in the public sphere, there’s really nothing for men to do aside from engage in violence and degeneracy. Either they inflict that harm against themselves or against others. The same cannot be said for women.
I don’t know what the solution is. I don’t know if there is a solution. Telling women to “get back in the kitchen” certainly isn’t one. Perhaps it’s the classical liberal in me, but I think women possessing the capacity for self-sufficiency is a good thing. At the same time, women shouldn’t be competing against men for bigger slices of the pie, either. That’s not good for either sex. Perhaps the solution, if there is one, begins with both men and women, but especially women, coming to an understanding that they need one another and that civilization rises and falls based on this understanding.
But hey, we’re here to endure social problems, not fix them, at least not on this blog!
Brian mentioned something very illuminating, something I didn’t know previously:
2014 is a critical year for another reason. It is the year that smartphones achieved 50% teen market penetration -- more teens had them than didn't. Jonathon Haidt has documented that 24x7 social media in your pocket had radically different effects on girls and boys (negative for both, but VERY negative for girls.) I can't help but wonder if this political shift isn't a parallel of the same thing. Haidt runs a substack; you ought to take a look at it.
Keep in mind, that doesn’t include older young women who already had smartphones. So imagine the scale of the phenomenon we’re talking about here in 2024, ten years after smartphones achieved 50% teen market penetration. Social media, for whatever reason, had a vastly different, deleterious effect on the young female mind than it did on the young male, who didn’t change their minds all that much. Yet the prevailing discourse is about how it’s young men who are being “dangerously radicalized” and it’s young men who need to change their political views?
I think the data proves conclusively that dangerous radicalization occurred among young women beginning last decade. Young women cannot fuel violent upheaval, thankfully. But they destabilize and undermine the order by influencing others, be it the state, the criminal class, or men seeking the approval of women, to commit horrendous violence on their behalf. Thinking this aloud is beginning to make me think it’s not a young male problem we have, but a young female problem.
Understand what I’m saying here: men are still more dangerous than women. But this doesn’t mean women are harmless, either. When women become politically radicalized and gain positions of influence in society, they too can inflict tremendous damage by shaping the environment so it becomes a place where the really bad people can thrive. A society where predators prey on the weak is counter-intuitive for women’s welfare, but that’s where radicalization plays in: you have to indoctrinate women into supporting the establishment of a new order that sounds nice in theory, but ultimately manifests against their well-being.
It’s hard to know the complete extent to which young women are radicalized, aside from their loyalty to the Democratic Party, which I argued has more than one explanation. But if young men and women are finding it increasingly difficult to connect with each other, it suggests the extent of radicalization is quite severe.
It’s time to loop in “Reckoning,” another long-time reader and commenter:
Regarding modern North American culture, I think that these young left wing women are effectively unmarriageable. When you look at the rates of mental illness and anti-depressant use, I think a reasonable young man has to be extremely wary.
The Eat Pray Love philosophy where a woman’s personal whims are the most important thing is another danger. Considering the horrible impact of divorce on males, I wouldn’t touch these women with a 10-foot pole.
With modern culture war issues, you also have to worry about such a woman pushing your children to be trans or gay, or pushing euthanasia on family members. So I don’t think you can ignore values or shared morals.
This is what I’m talking about when it comes to the danger radicalized young women pose to society. Whether politics is downstream of culture or the reverse, the cultural shifts we have seen in the last couple generations have largely occurred peacefully. Yet the consequences are violent. When it comes to having relationships, a radicalized young woman likely internalizes her politics at a personal level, making it impossible to have even a mild disagreement and sustain the relationship.
Back to Brian Villanueva [bold mine]:
Your distinction about what differences are possible between couples I think can be broken down to a simple dichotomy. Political disagreements are bridgeable; theological ones are not. That's what I think you’re going for when you say ‘you cannot be in a relationship with someone whose sense of right and wrong is in direct conflict with yours.” Politics is arguing about tax rates; theology is arguing about what it means to be human.
Exactly. Today, politics and theology have converged and it’s not because of insufficient separation between church and state. It’s because we’ve gotten to where we cannot even agree on what it means to be human. How we got here is a topic beyond the scope of this blog, but it’s enough to say that a society that cannot agree on what it means to be human will never reach a consensus on tax rates, health care, or immigration.
I have two male cousins in their late twenties who are successful in the trades and unmarried. They report from the trenches that it is extremely hard to find a woman to marry.
So it’s a problem. I really don’t think the problem is young men. I think that mass media and social media are poison for young women’s minds and in unfortunately many of them are unfixable.
I want to emphasize that radicalized young men is a huge problem and a direct threat to society. My argument, along with Reckoning’s, is that radicalized young men isn’t the problem we’re facing today. Young men have serious, possibly intractable problems, but the radicalization threat currently comes from young women. This isn’t some future scenario; we’re living through the outcome of it right now.
Reckoning also had some interesting observations regarding South Korea, reinforcing why I think there are hard limits with respect to looking at it as
I have some familiarity and personal experience with Korean culture, although a decade or two out of date so I can’t comment on the recent divergence. (I do wish these articles would explain what men are angry about. The female grievances are always described while male grievances are not.)
The Atlantic piece is mentioned does get into male grievances. But Reckoning is overall correct; male grievances are generally considered illegitimate if they’re given any consideration at all, while female grievances are considered both legitimate and substantive.
I saw a tweet while researching for the last piece where a man, no less, concluded based on a poll that women weren’t only more politically engaged, they were also worried about more concrete issues, while men, to the extent they were politically engaged, were simply mindless reactionaries. Though it’s true that women are more politically engaged, it’s also true that women tend to be more animated about specific issues, whereas men are more broadly concerned. More importantly, what some interpret as reactionary is merely a preference for the practical.
The example I used was trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The politically-engaged woman thinks making it fit is a matter of kindness and spending more money. The politically-engaged man thinks there’s no way to make it fit, it’s not worth it to try, and if you need it explained to you why squares don’t fit inside a circle, you probably shouldn’t be voting.
The point isn’t that one way of thinking is right and the other is wrong. The point is that men simply have a different thought process from women. This doesn’t make women more sensible and men unreasonable.
Speaking Of Unreasonable…
Back to Korea, Reckoning had this to say:
I think that Korea and modern Asia generally don’t provide a reasonable life path. Basically children spend their lives cramming for exams, fathers slave for corporations and mothers slave for their husbands and children. Couples and families don’t spend much time together and they live in rat pens that exist in urban jungles. It’s just inhumane and we shouldn’t be surprised people don’t reproduce.
This is why Korea’s fertility crisis began over a generation ago, if not earlier. What began as an economic and lifestyle issue has now turned into an entrenched cultural problem.
Another factor is that young people don’t spend much time together. Families are obviously small. Time is spent on studying, video games and pop culture. And then there are 2 years of military service for males. So young men and women don’t get to know each other.
And finally it should be remembered that society is functionally atheist, other than the roughly 20 or 25% Christians. Otherwise you just have some folk religion, Buddhism (which isn’t exactly a religion in the same sense as Christianity) and Confucianism. And tradition is more a burden than anything. For example the wife has to keep a lot of traditions going, make special and time consuming foods, arrange for visits to ancestors’ graves… my understanding is that young women resent these expectations.
I think that it is useful to think of Korea and Asia as extreme versions of our own modern lives. So if we want a higher birth rate and a future we need to make lives reasonable for families, encourage healthy and social lives for young people and encourage religion while keeping expectations reasonable.
South Korea is regarded as an exemplar of human society, even by both the Left and the Right. Koreans seem willing to help each other, crime is low, infrastructure is first-class. They put America to shame in some ways. But reality is more complicated; I’d go as far as to say South Korea and East Asian society in general is unsuitable for much of the world, Americans included. I don’t think I need to get any deeper into it than bringing up the fact South Korea has the highest suicide rate in the developed world, Russia and Lithuania aside. It’s a phenomenon driven primarily by male suicide, by the way.
I think once upon a time, America was a place that made lives reasonable for families, encouraged healthy and social lives for young people, and encouraged religion. This has long since changed and I think both sides are aware of it, while pointing to different culprits. The most practical explanation I can offer is what happened in the early 1970s: a glut of labor, caused by Baby Boomers reaching adulthood in critical mass, women entering the workforce, and immigration transformed the economy, starting us down the road towards diminishing returns. There’s also the decline in the prominence of Christianity, which certainly needs to be part of the discussion. Without shared morality and values, it’s difficult to have any of the nice things in life. We’ve become a society of literal strangers and strangers all pose a potential threat to us until they don’t.
Unfortunately, this is a cart-before-the-horse conundrum. Reckoning’s solution may be the right one, but we cannot make the necessary changes to our society until the prevailing social order unravels and it becomes possible to build up a different kind of social order in its place. This is a problem that’ll get worse before even an opportunity to make it better arises.
The best you can do is live by the values you’d like society to live by. Never demand of others what you cannot expect of yourself. Then instill those values in those close to you. As I like to say, build your own high-trust society.
Speaking Of Trust…
Last August, I wrote an entry titled “What Weak Men Are Capable Of”. Until fairly recently, it was one of my most widely-read pieces. Given its fading star and how long ago it was written, I was pleasantly surprised to see someone comment on it the other day.
Reader “yolkipalki” wrote:
Ok, here is something I thought about over the years a lot. Thing is, I am German and lived in my youth in the US. Maybe the US has changed so much for the worse. But back then, about 40 years ago, I was absolutely, 100% sure that Germans would shoot each other much more than Americans if we had such lax gun ownership laws. What amazed me then (and all Europeans) was the - in our view - gentle way of Americans in public. The smiles, the good nature and - as for the downside - the basic gullability [sic] of Americans. Gullability [sic] as being the effect of a more trusting society. Sure, thinsg [sic] might have changed. But seriously, 40 years ago it wouldn´t have been a good idea to trust Germans with guns the way Americans were trusted with them.
That’s fascinating. During my lifetime, the world has perceived Americans two different ways, often all at once: we’re either pleasantly naive, as yolkipalki described us, or we’re the “Ugly American,” arrogant, boorish, chauvinistic, and self-centered. Sometimes, even when perceived as pleasantly naive, it comes with the caveat that we Americans are suckers who know nothing about anything.
Which is why I’m happy to hear yolkipalki describe Americans in such positive terms. Maybe that’s because that’s who we are, or, more accurately, were 40 years ago. I once described the U.S. as a low-trust society LARPing as a high-trust society. For those who don’t know, “LARP” is the acronym for “Live-Action Role-Playing.” The U.S. is one type of society, but it pretends to be another. Like many real-life LARPers, the U.S. has trouble deciding which version of itself is authentic and this delusion often has deleterious effects.
America is still far from the worst place in the world and has a long ways to fall before it resembles even the developing world. The problem is that America has yet to fully internalize the fact it’s a low-trust society, despite the fact Americans themselves seem to believe this. Basically the head knows it, but the heart doesn’t. As such, our society still manages affairs as though we’re living in the same country from 50 years ago. Obviously, this isn’t working. You cannot occupy two diametrically-opposed versions of reality at once.
I think yolkipalki’s description of Americans as gullible applies today. It explains why so many Americans think it’s possible for us to become like Germany or Japan if only we decided to be kinder, less selfish people. In many ways, being a Germany- or Japan-like society is a choice, but not between kindness and cruelty, nor between selfishness and selflessness. Countries like Germany and Japan became what they are because they made choices some Americans would regard as cruel and selfish, first and foremost looking out for their own well-being.
The fact is, America will never become like Germany and Japan. Germany is in a state of civilizational self-destruction, so I’m not sure we ought to aspire to be them, anyway. Japan, like South Korea, is just too far away from us culturally to ever realistically come to resemble. America will just need to figure out for itself a new way of living once the veneer of trust fades and the more chaotic, feral reality becomes exposed. For guidance, Brazil and France serve as more useful examples. Brazil is a developing country, France a developed one, but both have notoriously low levels of social trust. I suggest learning about what life is like in these countries to have a good idea of what it’s going to take to survive in the new America we’re currently transforming into.
It pains me to think Americans may no longer come to be known as gentle and good-natured. But if we cannot afford to be that way, if our survival comes down to it, what other choice do we have?
Max Remington writes about armed conflict and prepping. Follow him on Twitter at @AgentMax90.
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