Keep Calm and Carry On

In light of the outcome of this year’s presidential election, many Americans are probably worried about what will happen to themselves and their families during this time of uncertainty. With the possibility of an economic recession looming over the horizon, threats from overseas, and a society that only seems to be getting more fragmented, these fears are not unfounded. However, the absolute last thing that anyone should be doing is calling our president-elect names like "racist" or "sexist" or "xenophobe" based on his public statements. The reason why people like Donald Trump have taken up these positions is because of (real and imagined) feelings of abandonment by the liberal establishment. Calling him out on his moral shortcomings will only feed these sentiments, giving him further justification for his beliefs. Lest we forget, something like this happened before with the election of George Bush; we’re slightly better off today because now we at least know what we’re about to get.

However, knowing what’s coming down the road may not be enough to calm the fears of many, so I will try to address the specific groups that may have the most uncertainty about the future:

Underrepresented minorities– Clinton may not have been the best candidate for this group because of the Clinton administration’s passage of the Welfare Reform Act in 1996. However, even Sanders doesn’t seem very appealing if you take into account the fact that Vermont is 95% white, and any solutions he would have offered would have been designed for that particular environment.
Women–it certainly is upsetting to miss a shot at having the first female president, but Clinton’s record on women’s issues leaves much to be desired. Even if you ignore her decision to stay with Bill after he cheated on her, the Clinton administration oversaw the growth of the high-tech economy, an industry that is still plagued by sexism to this day.
The military– Trump claims to have opposed the 2003 invasion of Iraq. His intentions may or may not have been noble, but candidates like Clinton and Rubio actually supported it. Further, our policy towards the Middle East has been to play up our shared Abrahamic heritage while still trying to gain the upper hand in the relationship, as evidenced by our bases in Saudi Arabia. At least now those countries have less reason to be upset because they know what they will be getting.

Last but definitely not least are foreign immigrant communities. One thing you won’t see in the citizenship exam study guide is that every 30 years or so American society becomes less inviting. It happened after both World Wars when isolationism was the prevailing sentiment, and today’s attitudes are part of that trend. There’a a light at the end of the tunnel though; during the 1960s, immigration reform lifted the Quota Act of the 1920s, and the end of the Cold War in 1991 reversed some of the attitudes of the 1950s.

Sources:
http://www.census.gov/quickfacts/table/PST045215/50
http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/hillary-clinton-marco-rubio-and-the-ill-fated-wars-they-supported/387535/

http://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2015/09/economics

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Happy Yule

The winter holidays are here, and that can only mean one thing– debates between atheists and believers about how to refer to the well-deserved break we’re enjoying. Should we stick with tradition and say “Merry Christmas”, or go with the more politically correct “Happy Holidays”? The current political climate seems to favor the more secular greeting; after all, the new president doesn’t take office until late January. But before the atheist camp starts celebrating a victory in the culture war, it’s wise to ask whether this side of the debate really lives up to its claims of being more objective than their opponents.

It’s a pretty safe bet to say that the predominant religious tradition in North America, Europe, and Oceania is Protestantism, a religious tradition which is part of the Abrahamic family of religions. The primary scripture of this tradition is the Bible, composed of both the Old Testament which documents the interactions between ancient Israelites and the surrounding pagan tribes and the New Testament which documents the life and teachings of the birthday boy himself, Jesus of Nazareth.

Modern secularism, in turn, traces its origins to Classical philosophers such as Socrates and Plato. Both thinkers were citizens of ancient Athens, credited with the development of democracy and a worldview which emphasized reason. At least, that’s what Zack Snyder wanted audiences to think when he directed 300. This view of Classical Greek society, which originated during the European Enlighenment, does not stand up to scrutiny.

In Histories 1.199, Herodotus describes a custom among Bablynonian women, which appalled him to no end, where they would visit a temple of Ishtar and have intercourse with a stranger. The process at work here was most likely a rite of passage for young girls; several societies, both in ancient and modern times, have held rites of passage to mark formal entry into adulthood, and for young girls, this rite was often sexual in nature, because they were deemed physically incapable of participating in the same strenuous physical activities as young males. The fact that these young women were choosing random men for this activity implies some sort of postmodernism at work, due to the fact that there was no requirement of a committed relationship.

Herodotus’s reaction to this practice showcases the ethnocentric worldview of the ancient Greeks, often heralded as paragons of a rationalist worldview, who considered every foreign people and their customs to be “barbaric”, a term which incorporated strong value judgement in addition to its literal definition as a term describing non-Greek peoples. Ancient Greek usage of the term “barbaric” was roughly analogous to contemporary use of the term “Negro”, which includes a racist component in addition to its literal meaning as an ethnic indicator.

Whereas the Bible refers to cults engaging in this practice as “demonic”, Classical writers are not significantly less biased in their opinions, especially when one remembers that they had no appreciating foreign practices like philosophy that conformed with their values. Ancient Greek writers were willing to acknowledge Celtic Druids and Hindu Brahmins as barbarian philosophers, even if they didn’t consider their teachings to be of the same quality as Greek philosophy, inspite of the prevalence of human sacrifice in pre-Roman Europe, officiated by the Druids, and caste discrimination in India, condoned and sanctioned by the Brahmins.

References:

There’s No Place Like Home for the HOlidays

Warning: This post discusses non-PC topics related to human biology.  Do not read if you prefer to avoid controversy.

 

 

In honor of Thanksgiving, the Zebra headed back to the serengetti plains to spend some much-needed time with friends and family. But this zebra doesn’t just hang out with members of its own species, even though there’s strength in numbers:

zeal-group-of-zebras.jpg?w=795&h=529
A herd of zebras, also known as a zeal. Although black-and-white stripes seem like a counterintuitive camoflouge mechanism on a tropical savannah, the presence of multiple zebras in close proximity makes it difficult for predators to determine where one animal ends and another one begins.

…so it’s about time I introduced you to my neighbors, the Big Five game animals. This diverse group includes apex predators, such as the African lion and leopard, as well as efficient herbivores such as the African elephant, rhinoceras, and Cape buffalo.

Needless to say, if you’re an archaic Homo sapiens, this is a very difficult environment to survive in*. In the face of such stiff ecological competition, the ancestors of modern humans developed two traits that allowed them survive. One was a desire to consume rich fatty foods that were the product of kills scavenged from predators. Another was a desire to mate whenever the opportunity presented itself to replenish losses to the early human population. As a result, in a postmodern feminist society, the desire to engage in pleasure never stops increasing, mirroring the process of increasing economic profits in free market capitalism.

Although alpha males and females still dominate this culture, the characteristics which make them alphas are no
longer limited to innate traits. It is possible to become an alpha merely by going through an experience that is not
available to the general population. Early childhood experiences are a classic example of this phenomenon. In
addition, alpha characteristics are no longer exclusively social skills, such as the ability to find mates; they can be economic skills as well.

Post-Industrial Economics

Whereas societies which practice conservative feminism are known for having strict developmental deadlines, and
few options for those who miss them, societies practicing postmodern feminism are considerably more flexible. The
most widely cited example of postmodern developmental processes is the modern corporation. Although most jobs in
a modern corporation have explicit requirements for the skills and qualifications needed to be hired, those can be
waived if an applicant is able to prove they can perform the tasks which are expected of them.

This flexibility extends to the physical process of producing work. Unlike conservative feminism, which requires workers to
remain physically present at their work locations for a predetermined period of time and take breaks only as allowed
by their employer, postmodern feminism places no such restrictions on workers provided that they can complete the tasks which are assigned to them. Groups which were at a competitive disadvantage under conservative feminism, such as women and the elderly, are able to participate since the work is less physically demanding. Disadvantaged communities also benefit from the fact that the workplace is an environment where they are free from physical violence and criminal prosecution, with perhaps the exception of military and law enforcement organizations.

The aforementioned social changes give rise to a post-industrial economy, where workers are valued primarily for specific skills which they can provide as opposed to the quantity of products they can create. In lieu of physical products, the goods that are exchanged in this economy are services provided to clients. One potential downside of this economic system is that workers can be fired by their employers at any time for any reason, including for no reason at all. One upside is that increased female participation in the workforce also leads to lower birth rates, although this trend may be assisted by industrial technology, such as the mass-production of condoms and other contraceptives.

* This also explains why there are no bear species currently living in Africa.

References

http://www.livescience.com/15377-savannas-human-ancestors-evolution.html

https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn3222-mans-early-hunting-role-in-doubt/

https://twistedsifter.files.wordpress.com/2010/06/zeal-group-of-zebras.jpg?w=795&h=529

Postmodern Feminism

Whereas radical feminism is exceedingly rare outside of societies practicing pre-modern agriculture, and conservative feminism can be found almost universally, there exists a third type that is particularly relevant in modern corporate environments: postmodern feminism.

Postmodernism in general refers to an intellectual movement that emerged as in response to the cultural changes taking place in Western society during the Industrial Revolution. It questioned ideas which were becoming popular at that time, such as unilineal evolution, the concept that all human societies were in different stages of development and were progressing towards a goal that was best represented by Western European society.

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A map of the 1905 Russo-Japanese War, which marked the beginning of the decline of intellectual support for white supremacy.

At the social level, postmodern feminism views traditional gender roles as an artificial construction that impedes individual self-expression. However, because it typically operates within the context of a patriarchal society, there is a constant desire to avoid being associated with radical feminism.

An example of this tendency at work is the phenomenon of out of wedlock pregnancies in North America, Europe, and Oceania following social transformations during the mid-20th century. Although intercourse with a partner outside of a committed relationship is considered a form of radical feminism in most societies, postmodern societies get around this restriction by having both partners agree to settle down in the event of a pregnancy. The male partner can usually be convinced on the grounds of social responsibility, with the female partner agreeing as a result of higher biological investment.

Likewise, reproductive health is managed by restricting the pool of potential partners. Typically, there are restrictions against rape (both partners need to be able to consent to the act; this definition typically includes factors that prevent someone from legally giving consent, such as age, developmental disabilities, and state of intoxication), and incest (both partners cannot be closely related to each other). Furthermore, the spread of STIs* can be mitigated by avoiding those who are known to engage in risky behavior.

In postmodern feminist societies, marriage is motivated primarily by convenience and economic incentives, with either partner having the ability to leave the relationship at any time. Both partners are expected to remain faithful to each other for the duration of the relationship, but the patriarchal subtext places significantly less stigma on male partners who choose to leave. Parents spend significantly less time raising their children than they would in a society practicing conservative feminism, with welfare programs providing for their economic needs and child care programs to teach societal skills. In rare cases, children may be separated from their parents if it is believed that their environment is not supportive of their development.

*STI is an acronym for “sexually transmitted infection”, and replaces the previous acronym STD, which is used in several contexts outside of reproductive health as an abbreviation for “standard”.

References

“World War Zero? Re-Assessing the Global Impact of the Russo-Japanese War 1904-050?1904-1905 | The Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus.” N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Nov. 2016.

An Overview of Ancient Greek Social Mores

Warning: This post discusses non-PC topics related to human biology.  Do not read if you prefer to avoid controversy.

Greek mythology buffs probably know the story of Cassandra, a Trojan princess who had the ability to see the future but whose prophecies were ignored by everyone around her. The myths surrounding Cassandra provide interesting clues about the nature of ancient Greek society.

The story begins in a patriarchal society where men try to win the affection of women by showering them with gifts: the Greek deity Apollo tries to seduce Cassandra by giving her the gift of prophecy, and curses her when she refuses his advances. Interbreeding between humans and deities, something that would shock modern Judeo-Christian audiences, was not seen as unusual by Graeco-Roman polytheists.

Cassandra is able to foresee the fall of Troy, but no one in the kingdom listens to her due to Apollo’s curse. This reflects a tendency in many patriarchal societies where women who do not conform to the society’s views of acceptable behavior are ostracized and their contributions ignored.

The sytem decribed in this myth proves to be unsustainable, and like all unsustainable systems, it collapses. The way in which it collapses is noteworthy, since it involved the breaking of Greek cultural taboos.
Troy is sacked by the Greeks, and Cassandra is violated in a temple by the Greek warrior Ajax the Lesser.

Temples were viewed by Graeco-Roman polytheists as sanctuaries where people could take shelter from persecution, and raping a person who was sheltering in one would have been seen as a form of radical feminsim. The story of Cassandra is a classic example of a pattern seen throughout the world: societies that are typically patriarchal go through phases of collapse where established social norms are lost and give way to anarchy.

Sources: http://www.english.illinois.edu/maps/poets/g_l/jeffers/classical.htm
http://faculty.gvsu.edu/websterm/gods&men.htm

Life Under Conservative Feminism

Warning: This post discusses non-PC topics related to human biology.  The most controversial sections have been separated out into an attachment for readers who are interested in learning more:

conservativefeminism

This file has been scanned and guaranteed free of viruses using Kaspersky Internet Security 2016.

 

American travelers, many of them from liberal cultural backgrounds, have often been shocked to observe that just about every society on the planet practices a conservative mating culture. After all, scholarship of the 1960s counterculture has created a dichotomy whereby Western civilization is viewed as oppressive and patriarchal and non-Western cultures are viewed as open and liberal. However, the near-ubiqitousness of conservative feminism becomes easier to accept if one understands the process of otherization.

Because conservative values are an effective means for creating out-groups, ruling elites in most human societies view them as a useful tool for consolidating ethnic and tribal identities. For this reason, social conservatism has been observed in just about every society, from prehistoric hunter-gatherers to white-collar office workers in Manhattan. However, there are two cultures that are particularly well-known for practicing conservative feminism: Confucian societies in East Asia and Judaeo-Christian societies in North America, Europe, and Oceania.

Political Systems

Politics in conservative feminist societies can be characterized by two loosely-defined movements: conservatism and liberalism. The primary factor differentiating the two is their views on the economy. Whereas liberals believe in redistributing some of the society’s wealth to those who are less fortunate, conservatives either want to leave the economy alone or ease restrictions on the rich. Both movements have conservative views on social issues, and social conservatism is almost a prerequisite for political participation, as evidenced by the controversy surrounding Barrack Obama’s religious beliefs in the 2008 presidential election:

Barack-Obama-and-hanuman.jpg
A picture of the items in US President Barack Obama’s pockets. One of them is a statue of the Hindu deity Hanuman, reflecting his diverse multireligious upbringing in Indonesia.

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A political cartoon describing UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s role in the 1982 Falklands War.

Conservative feminist societies are notorious for the belief in their own inherent superiority, as evidenced by the creation of out-groups. Typically, members of the in-group tend to avoid members of the out-group and associate almost exclusively with each other. Occasionally, when the difference in power between the in-group and out-groups becomes more pronounced, the result is often political domination of the out-groups by the in-group, resulting in the creation of an empire.

Economic Systems

As mentioned previously, the direct economic impact of conservative feminism is a society with a broad middle class, since it gives its practitioners slightly more opportunities to reproduce than natural law. Common misconceptions regarding conservative feminism state that it results in societies organized around small-scale manufacturing, as was the case in Europe, Japan, and North America during the late 19th century. However, industrial growth does not always have to be the outcome, and the actual results vary depending on the society’s religious beliefs.

Judeo-Christian belief systems (or in the case of Japan, Confucian values) played a crucial role in industrial growth in North America and Europe by promoting a belief in a universe governed by natural laws that humans could manipulate for their own personal well-being. Polytheistic cultures, such as those of the native peoples of the Americas, tend to become agricultural, because of the belief in a universe governed by living deities who control the forces of nature.

Because these societies believe in strict gender roles, the males are expected to earn money for their families once they complete the process of socioeconomic maturation. Female workforce participation may be allowed, but the aforementioned gender roles will restrict it to occupations that are specifically set aside for women. Additionally, it tends to decrease as families achieve middle-class status, because the male partner assumes the role of primary breadwinner.

A by-product of broady-shared prosperity is a consumer class that can use its disposable income to purchase goods and services other than those that are immediately necessary for survival. This surplus wealth allows for the development of artistic forms and cultural expressions, in addition to scientific study and technological innovation. Under this economic system, environmental health and sustainability are not considered pressing issues, and are sidelined in favor of economic development.

Social Beliefs

Children in these societies are taught from a young age what role they will play in the society. An individual’s role in their society is dictated both by their gender– male children are taught to play the roles of protector and breadwinner for their families, and female children learn to play the role of caretaker– and also by the society’s economic system. Education is seen as the primary means for acquiring economic skills, whether it is achieved formally by sending the children to schools or informally through apprenticeships.

Although deviation from the society’s gender roles may be tolerated before the children reach biological maturity, conformance is expected by the time the maturation process is complete. A common insecurity among the society’s women is the belief that they will be perceived as radical feminists, paralleling the insecurity among the society’s men that they do not conform with established notions of masculinity. The society’s views of gender roles tend to have widespread acceptance from both genders, due to their association with economic stability. However, as the society’s females age, their support for this system decreases, due to the expectation that they must satisfy the demands of their male partners.

References

Items in Barack Obama’s pockets, https://domesticatedzebra.files.wordpress.com/2016/09/8bc64-barack-obama-and-hanuman.jpg

lock, Herbert, Artist. “That Falklands fighting didn’t exactly do Thatcher any harm”. 6/10, 1983. Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, https://www.loc.gov/item/2012641185/. (Accessed September 24, 2016.)

The New Holocaust Denial

Climate change denial is the Holocaust denial of the 21st century. From the WTO:

Between 2030 and 2050, climate change is expected to cause approximately 250 000 additional deaths per year, from malnutrition, malaria, diarrhoea and heat stress.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs266/en/