Today, a BBC broadcaster made a plea for intelligent citizens to reconnect with anthropological reality. His reward was a robotic monsoon of dismissal driven from the knee. This represents just one more incident in the developing history of how blind belief in 2019 has achieved a preeminence over science and the awkward truths of human evolution and experience. The debate thus created has nothing to do with politics, and everything to do with the survival of civilised tolerance.
I’m devoting ATEOTD to John Humphrys tonight because I’m struggling to think of any media ‘furore’ of recent years that has so perfectly epitomised the life-or-death war going on in our epoch between open-minded freedom of speech and ideologico-religious fascism. More specifically in this case, it is the battle between empirical science and fashionably fanciful mores.
To summarise briefly: Mr Humphrys – without any doubt one of the outstanding commentators of his generation – dared to suggest in his Radio4 Today slot this morning that “Women seen looking after babies in adverts is perfectly natural, so why should it be banned?” His interviewee answered, “All we want is for people to know that women have choices”. Humphrys interjected, “Do we really need to be told that?”
That was it.
It has somehow turned into the UK Twitter event of the week.
Where to start?
Think of this post, if you like, as a continuation of my previous piece on realistic radicalism versus petrified ideology.
Answering my own question, I think the place to start is probably neuroscience and the associated area of biochemistry.
The Women’s Liberation movement began in the late 1960s as an entirely justifiable reaction by women – freed from convention by the pill and higher educational opportunities – against the appallingly outdated, neo-Victorian legal attitudes to Women’s Rights as equal members of society in general, and wives in particular.
But as so often happens with the correction of injustice, life-damaged ideologists quickly moved in to make feminism part and parcel of the drive to deny even the most basic anthropological gender wiring.
Over the last half-century in the First World, we have been asked first of all to consider (and then accept) the ridiculous ideas that (1) there is no difference between men and women, and more recently (2) women can solve every problem on the planet while feckless men are busy self-indulgently browsing the booze shelves in the hypermarket.
It seems to me that what’s been completely forgotten here is that males and females pump out different hormones because they are, um, different.
You will, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, struggle to find any neurological expert (anatomist or scientist) who thinks that fifty years of wishfully-thinking mores can triumph over three million years of two-gender biology and psychology. Evolution simply doesn’t work that way.
Equally dysfunctional – in the context of social anthropology – is the idea that the rearing of children should be disrespected as a tedious chore forced upon women by goose-stepping male Nazis.
The balanced socialisation of children – such that they become aware of the needs of others, and self-prevention of personal health problems – is the most important thing consenting partners and the teaching profession can do in a lifetime. The maximisation of every citizen’s fulfilment ought to be the cornerstone of all government policy.
Let me just pause proceedings with a personal micro-point here: my elder daughter enjoys a very successful marriage with her bloke, because she struggles to cope with the idea of being at home and giving all her attention to small people who make lots of idiotic demands and repeat themselves endlessly. She’s very successful at what she does professionally, and hubby is very good at bringing up the kids….providing he’s allowed to crash out at 9pm because he has to be up again at 5am.
However, to suggest that this is The New Normal is empirical denial on a solar systemic scale.
It took elephants five million years and more to decide that things would work out better if the females got inseminated by the rogue bulls….and then kicked them out, thereafter to vent their frustration on poor unsuspecting trees.
This is the way most adult human partnerships work: the girlies do the weening, thinking ahead, provisioning, schooling research, property needs, tidiness and gardening stuff; the guys do the confrontational, deal-sniffing, macho bollocks, sell-out-my-principles provider thang.
I’m not saying everyone must conform to that norm.
Equally, I’m not saying that’s my formula: I am merely pointing out that this is the behaviour of the overwhelming majority of humans. And it is not merely a case of Men Behaving Badly.
Most women are better than most men at caring for children. They’re more attentive, they’re more practical, they’re more focused, they’re less selfish, and they kick blokes up the arse in a completely positive manner when they balk at giving them a rest at the weekends.
Alpha males are programmed to spread their seed as widely as possible. The nurturing of a high-quality gene pool is in and of itself the dictate of species survival instinct: moaning about that behaviour is perhaps cathartic, but pointless. Women come on to Alpha males because they want some of what their spermatazoa can provide. They too are programmed at the factory to do this. We can all get very judgemental about it: we can even get Jesse Phillips political about it.
But the idea that we can change it in half a century is about the most dangerous idea that Homo sorcerus apprentis could ever have.
Very late in life, I am at last beginning to understand the American phrase, “it is what it is”.
More and more in recent years, Western social policy has been moving further and further away from what comes naturally. Insistent and intolerant ideology has demanded that all those who beg to differ from politically correct denialism must be vilified.
This is the fate that befell John Humphrys today. He should be defended, and all those self-appointed Witchfinders General from Owen Jones and Emily Thornberry to Tom Watson should embrace a simple principle: it is better to disagree than to ban.
But before Leftlib detractors reach for their keyboards to smear me as an unreconstructed right winger, let me make something clear. Anyone who has ever been on minimal intervention wildlife safari will know one thing for sure: devil-take-the-hindmost as suggested by neoliberal economics is most emphatically not the “natural order of things” among higher primates. If the Alphas and Betas in the colony do not defend the health of the Gammas and Deltas, Beta females mate with Beta males to produce challengers to the status quo.
The health of the entire tribe is vital if it is to defend itself….and cooperate intelligently with other tribes.
Our species success is based on this delicate balance between inter-tribe compromise and intra-tribe harsh reality. Those who seek to silence the expression of that reality are doing the species a massive disservice. They advocate life behind stockades. Stockade voting in the UK today is damaging the survival of Britons as a free-thinking and creative tribe.