reading list

This week’s reading list starts with a video of a lecture by Sir Roger Scruton on ‘Tradition, Culture and Citizenship’. It is thought-provoking.
The second piece is by Ross Douthat at the New York Times. Douthat, a conservative, puts the sexual harassment storm in the context of the sexual revolution and sees it as a correction to it. But he does not seeing it improve the dire relations between the sexes and in particular it will not stop the ‘baby bust’.

Douthat: ‘The cascade of revelations about powerful men is a continuation of this mitigation and correction process. But so far the process has not substituted successful marriages for failing ones, healthy relationships for exploitative ones, new courtship scripts for the ones torn up 50 years ago. Instead as Weinsteinian or Polanskian excesses have been corrected, we’ve increased singlehood, sterility and loneliness. We’ve achieved the goal of fewer divorces by having many fewer marriages. We’ve reduced promiscuity by substituting smartphones and pornography. We’ve leveled off out-of-wedlock births by entering into a major baby bust.’
He is not optimistic for the future.

In the National Review, David French explains the huge importance of the Supreme Court case concerning the First Amendment Rights of a baker and whether he should be compelled to participate in a gay marriage by baking the cake. It sounds trivial, but is one of the most important cases to come before the Supreme Court in recent decades.

Finally, Theodore Dalrymple at City Journal explains the ridiculousness of a BBC item covering homelessness.
Dalrymple notes how the question of two mothers with children came to live in such difficult circumstances was never put. He concludes: ‘While it is perfectly true that no child should be brought up in such degraded and degrading circumstances, at least not nowadays, the blame for it was placed entirely on society, meaning the state and the taxpayers. The only solution offered was for the state to be more generous towards unfortunates such as the two young mothers. That this turned children into de facto tools of extortion, and that it made everyone responsible for the welfare of children except their parents, apparently did not occur to the producers of the news story. They passed on to other subjects, secure in the glow off their own sanctity.’

Sanctity indeed.


  1. Atheists by and large don’t have many children, if you haven’t noticed. That’s why Europe is descending into a demographic desert as it becomes more and more atheist. They certainly love children in the abstract if not the particular. And because of that abstract affection they are certainly concerned to label certain theologies as abusive by definition. One wonders how those of us how hold to that theology – and who have actually raised children to adulthood – managed to avoid beating our kids to death in the name of religion.
    Well, no I don’t really. And no sensible person would ask the question in the first place. Instead, an instance of physical abuse is made into a proxy for what certain individuals really want to talk about. “It’s abusive for you to teach your kids what you teach them. You should teach them what I want you to teach them.” But that’s a hard case to make. Who are a bunch of childless atheists to tell me how to raise my kids.

    • My wife and I are not religious and we have two children.
      My brother and his wife and not religious and they have three children.

      By jumping to ridiculous assertions you publicly make yourself look like a mentally deranged idiot. You’ve been doing well recently too, what’s the matter, have you reduced your medication?

          • That depends. Are you a Bolshevik-like type of atheist? Do you want to shot all the clergy? I would not be happy with that.

            Anyway. Back to the original statement. Do you think there’s a link between being a Muslim and having a lot of kids, or it’s a complete nonsense?

          • Being a Muslim and having lots of kids was not the “original statement”, though was it?
            ‘Atheists not having many children’ was the original statement.

          • > ‘Atheists not having many children’ was the original statement.

            But that’s true! The only group having less, on average, are Buddhist.

            > And this has potentially very serious consequences for British culture in the upcoming century.

            I can give you a peek. Moscow, 2011, Eid al-Adha ( ), the prayer next to one of the only four mosques there are in Moscow:

            Eid al-Fitr ( ), Moscow, 2010, in pictures:
            Muslims killing lambs for traditional dishes right on the streets of Moscow residential areas:

            Get used to the view.

            As for the answer, I’m afraid that mine (which is “neo-colonialism”) will take another decade or two for it to be finally accepted as a publically allowed option in polite society.

          • This partly due to the fact that, on the contrary to popular belief, Russia is not an autocracy with an all-mighty leader on top; and partly due to things being complicated (i.e. Russian construction boom in mid 2000s was built on the backs of de-facto Central Asian Muslim semi-slave labour).

            Also a massive amount of Muslims are Russian citizens, either all the way from the Empire times (North Caucasus, Bashkirs, Tatars, etc), or newly converted (vahabism among the Chechens – Saudi influence).

            Russian attitude to Muslims from the Global South (on the contrary to old-timers like Tatars, who are very decent people really)? I can’t say it here, as most of it involves napalm, hydrogen bombs and other such things. I just say that what comes for Islamophobia here would be too soft even for pro-Islam part of Russians.

            I believe the stays true for all the Slavs (except for Muslim Bosnians) and probably other parts of non-Slavic Eastern and Southern Europe – we had Muslims as troublesome neighbours for centuries. Some had them as masters.

          • Oh, two most important things why Russian officials did not bother with millions of Muslim foreigners in Russia.

            1) There’s no welfare provision for foreigners in Russia. Their medical appointments are with private services, they pay for their housing, they are not entitled to any benefits. The overwhelming majority of immigrants are young males. It’s very hard to naturalise in Russia, and combined with the lack of welfare this means almost none of them can move their families to Russia. Russian women mostly treat them with hostility and contempt, so the amount of cross-cultural marriages is minimal.

            They irritate the locals, they litter, they contribute to crime stats, they still overwhelm some part of the system (i.e. border control), but they did not draw money out of Russian tax payers.

            2) I provided you with the links for 2010-2013, because that was the peak Muslim. Ruble plummeted in 2014, when Crimea started. Millions of immigrants left soon after – they didn’t really need Rubles, as their home economies hardly do any imports from Russia. They needed US dollars, and with dollar incomes cut to half, it made no sense to stick to Russia.

            Those people were never loyal to the host state.

        • “…one might be a religious atheist.” Lots of them are; positively evangelical in many cases. (They often call other people idiots.)

      • The only sensible conclusions can be found from trends Bik

        Your brother and his wife is just one counter example or an outlier.

        Ridiculous assertions? There is a direct correlation between religion, family and children and an inverse one between atheism and populations.

        There is of course well proven stats on a direct relationship between atheism, state sponsored murder and political oppression

  2. “BBC item covering homelessness”. My life seems richer by a selfish indulgence in BBC avoidance. Would I be correct in suspecting that the featured homeless were arrivals into this country? Regardless, why is their near zero focus on male homelessness; near zero resources on male homelessness? It is frequently stated that sizeable numbers of these are ex-forces suffering PTSD, yet we do nothing. Couldn’t be that the current quango queen at Shelter is the misandrist Polly Neate fresh from milking the taxpayer at Womens Aid?

  3. Anything by Theodore Dalrymple is a good thought-provoking read; I don’t always agree, but I often do and it always provides excellent insight. If anybody has not read any of his stuff, then I recommend it highly – please do.

    • I’ll double that, with the exception of his columns at Taki’s. I blame the schedule – it’s hard to squeeze out a good column every week. Still read every one of them though.

    • Dalrymple is a reactionary dinosaur harking back to a golden age that never was.

      His time has passed and so has the time of the reactionaries who read his columns.

    • Right. And he makes a very good point here.

      What do you understand by the term “homeless”? Does it mean that dirty, unshaven and probably alcohol/drug dependent guy (and the great majority are guys) lying in a heap of old newspapers under the railway arch, begging for money during the day with maybe only the Salvation Army to give him a bowl of soup to help him survive the night? Or does it mean those mothers and kids referred to by Dalrymple in his article, who at least have a roof over their heads? Because society seems to see two very different types of “homelessness” in these cases. One gets all the sympathy, attention and BBC documentaries; the other gets a kick, a look of disgust or total indifference.

  4. I’ve been listening to Jordan Peterson lectures recently, and he cites some well known facts about mating.

    In particular, that the dominance hierarchy (which every species with sexual dimorphism have) is effectively a system to ease mating for females. As they do all the reproduction heavy lifting, choosing a right mate is a significant problem for them, especially in humans, as human males do not vary much in physical appearance (difference in measurable physical traits among men rarely exceeds the factor of 2). So Nature’s answer to that is for males to compete, and females are picking up the winners to mate.

    One of the curious conclusions is, if the females are a part of a male dominance hierarchy, the system grinds to a halt. Nature-provided mate selection mechanism crashes. Men no longer have the idea what to do to attract women (compete with them for a higher position in a dominance hierarchy? But the culture – and the biology – says that men should not compete with women!). Same goes for women. Couples do not form. Children are not being born.

    The history of the last few decades is, men create new and new dominance hierarchies to compete with each other, while society, driven by the idea of “gender equality” keeps injecting women in every one of them.

  5. I don’t know how the supreme court in the US will rule but we already know that bakers in the Uk have no choice about gay marriages.That or face the full force of the cultural marxist state. Our fools of judges apparently can not distinguish gay marriage from supporting a football team, or children’s Halloween things.

  6. Something struck me from from the Ross Douthat piece.

    “But there is also strong resistance to seeing a failure to unite the sexes and continue the species as a problem. If women are having fewer children, it must be because they want fewer children. (In fact most women want more children than they have.) If there are fewer marriages, they must at least be happier ones. (In fact they aren’t.) If the young are delaying parenthood, it must be that they are pursuing new opportunities and pleasures. (In fact the young seem increasingly medicated and miserable.) If men prefer video games and pornography to relationships…”

    …At which point, logically I expected Ross to come up with an assertion, maybe linked to some sort of evidence, that in fact men do not prefer video games and pornography to relationships. But he doesn’t. He just tails off into a rather weak “de gustibus non est disputandum.” Which is not just weak, but as far as I am aware, is simply unreal; because I have never heard anyone use that comment about the male obsession with video games and pornography. Quite the contrary: it is a phenomenon that is routinely criticised and used as evidence of how bad the male sex is, and certainly not accepted with an indifferent shrug.

    So are we to conclude that in fact there is no evidence that men prefer relationships to video games and pornography? And if that is correct, what does it really mean for the future? Especially if nothing happens to persuade men to change. Or if the only things that do keep happening, go the other way, and actually reinforce men’s preference for the games and pornography?

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