Tuesday, March 15, 2005
The President of Harvard forgot himself for a moment and believed that
he and his university were an academic institution. HA HA HA HA HA HA
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA.
The ability of women. It's the single most lied-about subject in western civilization. It's not that women don't have ability. They do. It's that there's never been one female Homer, Socrates, Plato, Christ, Buddha, Dante, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Newton, Shakespeare, Jefferson, Napoleon, Edison, Einstein, MacArthur, or Churchill.
James Thurber: The War Between Men and Women
InstaPunk once committed the irretrievable error of writing a book on this subject. It was turned down by every publisher in existence. Using humor, he made up a plausible (as any other) social science to explain the discrepancy. A key finding of his fake science was the discovery of a difference in performance curves between men and women, one which purported to explain why the worst of men are dumber, meaner, and generally less accomplished than women despite the fact that the best of men are smarter, more spiritually adept, and infinitely more accomplished in every regard than the best of women. The activating idea was that men are thrown into a "sink or swim" genius pool. They prosper and they achieve, or they fail and tumble to the depths. The point of the exercise was to lampoon politically correct social science, which has for so long attempted to equate the sexes -- explaining away the superior accomplishments of less than 50 percent of the population while making up virtues and superiorities in the greater than 50 percent that nowhere appear in the record. (Women are verbally superior to men? Shakespeare. Blake. Yeats. Pshaw. Women are better at securing cooperative effort? Jesus Christ. Ghandi. Eisenhower. Pfui.)
Meanwhile, women excel at the the most important mandate of the culture as a whole -- raising children until the age organizational systems begin to exert their amoral or antimoral claims on them. InstaPunk's notion was that all morality resides in individuals, as raised by their fathers and mothers, before organizations begin the process of perverting them for group imperatives. Compassion, consideration, empathy, sacrifice, and a sense of home and the "now" -- these flow from women. Justice, objective analysis, self-discipline, fairness, honor, duty, accomplishment, and "posterity" -- these flow from men. Organizations reflect none of these virtues, only their rationalized simulacra -- conformism, obedience, status displays, materialism, physical comfort and satisfaction, and "fame." Note that the female contributions represent the most personal core, the male contributions the necessary bridges between that core and the world at large, while the organizational contributions are almost invariably negative and destructive.
Also note that none of this predicts a role for women in science, business, law, or other professions extending into the world of business and competition. Obviously, many women do possess such aptitudes, and even InstaPunk believes the world is better off for their participation. But where do we get the idea that the right level of participation is 50 percent?
If we were as quantitatively minded as Hugh Hewitt, we would start linking to almanac entries (which do exist, by the way) showing the unusual percentages of female physicians who choose pathology and pediatrics over surgery in direct contradistinction to their male colleagues -- risk of overt killing is worse than bad smells, lesser incomes, and killing by inaction.
Alternatively, we could point to statistics (Chain Gang, want to help here?) which show just how many graduate professional school places are being wasted on women who -- as gleefully reported by the NYT -- are abandoning the golden careers portended by their Harvard MBAs, Yale JDs, MIT PhDs, etc, to go back home and raise kids sired by their lesser and all-too-male consorts.
Which leaves us thinking about the persons who are responsible for scientific breakthroughs. And guess what? They're not always comfortably salaried by New Jersey pharmaceutical companies. Edison. Benjamin Franklin. Stevenson. Ford. And, oh yeah, that ultimate family man Albert Einstein. Was any one of them a good father? M-a-a-a-a-a-y-y-b-e-e-e. Put in enough hours to be a good mother? No ___damn way.
Now -- back to the controversies. Oddly enough, they seem to be breaking out on the left, not the right. Why is this? Is it because the Republicans have their women safely secured under thumb, or because of some unique stress in the Democrat camp?
The experience of InstaPunk is that Republican men are every bit as lacking in testosterone as their Democrat colleagues. The average Goldwater-Reagan-Bush conservative will say anything about female ability his current love interest requires, just as his Clinton-Gore-Kerry counterpart will. Why, then, is there a guerilla war underway among the Harvard-MIT-Elite U. crowd while caveman George W. Bush anoints Condi Rice his foreign policy brain and Karen Hughes his domestic tongue?
The answer is convergence. Women are learning to be more like men, and men are learning to be more like women. But the balance is not the same in every profession. In Washington, DC, Condi is learning about balls from W. In Cambridge, Lawrence Summers is learning about consensus from female soc sci professors. Both are getting the lesson. But the value of the lesson is not uniform. Balls are important in foreign affairs. Meaning what you say can effect even the most resisted and detested policies. Condi's knee-high boots and Matrix-stye leather duster probably gave her more credibility in Europe than a score of Stanford essays would have done. In science, though, consensus is a signal of the absence of genius. The din that met Summers's modest (dare I say meek?) suggestion that scientists should be interested in scientific explanations for the slight fact of no female scientific breakthroughs ever is indicative of a new herd mentality in science -- one undoubtedly related to the increasing ascendancy of the herd mentality in science.
Think about this. Science has never been better funded. Science has never been equipped with more expensively educated experts. Yet science has never been less humble about what it actually knows -- including the age of the universe and its parts, the validity of Darwinian evolution (we are NOT arguing creationism here), the actual history of human civilization, and -- need we say it? -- the innate nature of man?
Who does NOT know a woman for whom the question of the "Nature of Man" is easily reducible to the nature of the men who do not call when they're supposed to? Is that really science? I think not.
But then I have a broken toe. And a bad attitude.