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Monday, July 09, 2012

The feminist Shangri-la

The Mosuo women are supposed to have the last matriarchy on Earth. They live in a couple of Tibetan villages near Shangri-la. The women do the work and the kids do not know who their fathers are. Feminist anthropologists are always studying the place to argue that cultural norms are socially constructed, and that our attitudes towards men, women, and family could be abandoned in favor of the customs of some primitive uncivilized village.

A German news magazine reports:
SPIEGEL ONLINE: What is life like for a man in a matriarchy?

Coler: Men live better where women are in charge: you are responsible for almost nothing, you work much less and you spend the whole day with your friends. You're with a different woman every night. And on top of that, you can always live at your mother's house. The woman serves the man and it happens in a society where she leads the way and has control of the money. In a patriarchy, we men work more -- and every now and then we do the dishes. In the Mosuo's pure form of matriarchy, you aren't allowed to do that. Where a woman's dominant position is secure, those kinds of archaic gender roles don't have any meaning....

However, they do say that the "really big" decisions -- like buying a house or a machine or selling a cow -- are made by the men. Men are good for this kind of decision-making as well as physical labor. The official governmental leader of the village, the mayor, is a man. ...

But when it comes to seduction, they completely change. The women act shy, look at the floor, sing softly to themselves and blush. And they let the men believe that we are the ones who choose the women and do the conquering. Then you spend a night together. The next morning, the man leaves and the woman goes about her work like before.
Does this sound like paradise?

It is true that polygamy is common among primitive tribes:
According to the Ethnographic Atlas Codebook, of 1,231 societies noted, 186 were monogamous. 453 had occasional polygyny, 588 had more frequent polygyny, and 4 had polyandry.
(Polygyny is multiple wives, polyandry is multiple husbands, and polygamy is either.) Some hear these studies, and figure that we should restructure our society to be more like primitive tribes, because they are closer to human nature.

I say the opposite. Modern civilization is possible because of cultural norms that had to be invented, codified into law, and enforced by govt. Sure, there are societies without those cultural norms, but they are not very civilized either. If you found a society where theft is common, you would conclude that it is natural to steal so we should abolish laws against stealing. The anthropological research on primitive societies tells us how not to live, not how to live.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

An anthropologist by the name of J.D. Unwin initiated a study with the premise that marriage was not necessary and possibly even detrimental to the development of great societies. At the end of this study he completely reversed his hypothesis.

"Perhaps the definitive work on the rise and fall of civilizations," writes Fitzpatrick, "was published in 1934 by Oxford anthropologist J.D. Unwin":

In "Sex and Culture," Unwin studied 86 human civilizations ranging from tiny South Sea island principalities to mighty Rome. He found that a society's destiny is linked inseparably to the limits it imposes on sexual expression and that those sexual constraints correlate directly to its theological sophistication and religious commitment.

Unwin noted that the most primitive societies had only rudimentary spiritual beliefs and virtually no restrictions on sexual expression, whereas societies with more sophisticated theologies placed greater restrictions on sexual expression, and achieved greater social development.

In particular, cultures that adopt what Unwin dubbed "absolute monogamy" proved to be the most vigorous, economically productive, artistically creative, scientifically innovative and geographically expansive societies on earth.

The following are grave words for the USA that come from noted Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin who found no culture surviving once it ceased to support marriage and monogamy. None.

Now we can do a basic analysis of marriage in the USA. Current illegitimacy rates are as follows:

Black 73%

Hispanic 53%

White 29%

for an overall rate of 42%. The future of the USA has been written. Currently the rate of illegitimacy for women of all races under 30 is 53%.

“Once a society departs from a social norm of absolute marital monogamy, social chaos ensues within three generations.” — Anthropologist Joseph Daniel Unwin

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