Spear and Distaff

It is not for nothing that the female half of a lineage is called the “distaff side” and the male “spear side.” The domestic and the warlike instincts of the sexes differ, and domesticity requires and encourages conformity as well as patience and forgiveness and soft emotions that soothe conflict and bring healing; where the competition of war or commerce needs conflict, so it requires and encourages aggression and team-spirit, which, in turn, requires and encourages stoicism and discipline.

Despite what you have heard, women are by nature and (when nurture is not neurotic) by upbringing more emotional and less logical than men; and this for the very logical reason that their role in life requires logic less than the male roles.

From the male point of view, being logical is superior to being emotional because emotions are a hinderance to victory; from the female point of view, being emotional is superior, because being pigheaded is a hinderance to sympathy and reconciliation. By and large, being logical and being pigheaded are the same thing: a stubborn disregard for what one’s heart is whispering, or what one’s peers are saying.

Putting aside emotion and listening only to dispassionate reason is of course useful, even crucial, in situations where the emotions have a proven history of leading one astray.

The clearest example is the hectic turmoil of emergency and combat, where to heed one’s own fear would have the soldier break ranks and let his mates be cut down, the sailor cower from the storm and drown, or have the fireman abandon the trapped child to burn. Virtue in these cases requires the appetite for self-preservation be ruled by a passion for heroic honor.

Contrariwise, listening to one’s emotions is crucial cases where cold reason has a history of leading one astray. Reason too easily tempts one into the unrealism of Machiavellian realism, or into a self-centered mercilessness disguised as pragmatism. These cases most often crop up in domestic situations, especially when dealing with a prodigal son or jealous brother or willful wife. Virtue in these cases requires the appetite for self-adoration be ruled by prudence and compassion.

The disaster involved in wholesale adoption of feminine thinking in masculine situations can be best seen when writ large across the political world.

Before the Progressive Era, government was a wholly masculine affair: the state was a necessary evil, stoically shouldered for pragmatic reason to protect life, property, the women and children of the tribe from crime and insurrection at home and from invasion from abroad.

Then, as now, men were right to fear highwaymen and piracy, as well as to fear the jealousy, fear, or hunger of neighboring tribes, city-states, and warlords, or the ambition of god-kings and emperors. It was for this reason that the first tools of the stone age included spearheads, arrowheads, and tomahawks.  It is for this reason that the stronghouse, tower, and town wall each is an invention older than written language.

No one was afraid of bands of maidens roving the highways or the high seas to loot and rape, and no special provision need be made to fend off this danger. Then, as now, the number of violent crimes committed by women is vanishingly small; a female soldier in history is as rare as a blind knight.

Women, as a general rule, prefer to use poison to kill, and rarely are they concerned with the dishonor involved, since a reputation as a fearsome pugilist or wrestler is not one they are likely to gain by beating opponents to death in a fair fight. This is why witches in history outnumber warlocks: their occult “potions” in real life were rarely magic, they were usually home remedies for illness, abortifacients, or deadly poison.

The other office of government was to raise taxes to pay soldiers and sailors, buy their arms and gear, rear fortresses and shipyards, post offices and post roads, and so on, as well as to erect courthouses and torture chambers, goals and gallows, and, in gentler times, penitentiaries where penitent wrongdoers could repent; and to prevent the frauds and theft by trick which haunt all marketplaces, establish weights and measures and standard coinages and uses, or levy fines against those who break their sworn oaths and contracts. Commerce, like combat, was largely a man’s world; the womenfolk largely conducted their commerce domestically, in homes, not in textile mills.

In the Middle Ages, in Europe, the Church law handled domestic matters of trusts and estates, marriage and annulment, weddings and bastardy, but all civilized people in all ages have laws governing these things, and all tribes have traditions strictly followed, because no civilization, before this present generation, was luxurious enough or corrupt enough to afford to tolerate an anarchy of harlots and bastards, where men mate like satyrs, without forethought or provision for the young.

All these things are men’s work. Only when, in the modern era, with the factory system displacing the domestic textile industry, and the womenfolk encouraged to leave domestic tasks and take up the ‘rat race’ of modern commerce, and the government, always eager for unaccountable power, lusting to redistribute tax moneys to the mass numbers of poor their policies created (policies from the enclosure laws to fiat currency), did the state step into the women’s world of education and almsgiving. Being Caesar, the worldly powers expressed these remarkable power-grabs as a matter of public service, or as a public service owed to the uneducated and impoverished as a matter of legal right.

In America, this was used particularly as an excuse to expel all trace of Christian religion from schools and welfare. Public schools were established explicitly to erode the family structure and indoctrinate impressionable young minds into obedient socialist mindlessness. See the writings of John Dewey and Bella Dodd.

It was slow, but inevitable. The highly religious nature of the culture required many decades to erode the moral character. The Department of Education was founded in 1867; the case of Engel v. Vitale was not until 1962. But the encroachment still took effect.

However, at all prior times in history the women’s world, which ran on compassion rather than competition, was personal, and hence a froward child or undeserving poor could not call upon teachers or almsgivers to grant learning or funds as a matter of right. When Caesar usurped the maternal role, as men are wont to do, the thing became impersonal: a matter of rules, of rote, of restrictions.

Thereafter, traditionally feminine concerns of almsdeeds, education, caring for the sick, and so on, were matters of state.

Now, it might be argued that whether and when the old veterans led the young men to war by land and sea was exclusively a male concern, and the suffragettes would not be marching to war in any case, so therefore public debate and public vote on matters of state, or the selection of the civilian commander in chief, should be restricted to the spear side of the citizenry. It might be argued that women are not involved and so should not get a vote.

Once the state makes it Caesar’s business to rear the young and feed the poor, that argument has no more relevance. The daily things that are the prime concern of wives and mothers now are matters determined by public debate and public vote, not by schoolmarms and church charities.

Unfortunately, the compassionate thinking which is so useful for motherhood, when men try to mimic it, men tend to make it a matter of dispassionate logic. It is not something felt in the soul, guided by prayer, answered by gratitude. Compassion, in a rigidly rational masculine mind, becomes a slogan, or a formula, expressed as a mathematical proportion: FROM EACH ACCORDING TO HIS ABILITY, TO EACH ACCORDING TO HIS NEED.

And the doors of hell are opened.

There is no prayer in the giver and no gratitude in the receiver. Charity becomes a matter of blackmail: the taxpayer must pony up, or else the race riots will burn neighborhoods. And it becomes a matter of slow slavery: marry the father of your children, and we cut you off. And meanwhile the social worker has the right to inspect your home and monitor your jobhunt, health, and so on.

Likewise, in education, teacher pay is not tied to performance, so the teachers who perform least are rewarded most; meanwhile froward and unruly students cannot be expelled, or even punished, and, as is becoming the rule, not be given poor grades for poor performance.

Meanwhile the politicians and public servants adopt a perversion of feminine thinking on the public stage. The perfectly healthy and normal means used by women to maintain their social hierarchies and conformity to norms, when grafted onto a public situation, ejects the honorable conduct, or the appearance of honorable conduct, so needed to curb masculine violence via military courtesy. Men tend to treat men on a last name basis, or did at one time.

They made accusations unwillingly, but publicly, and, once made, did not retract them until the accused stood and faced the matter, and was publicly vindicated or publicly shamed. If the matter ended in a duel, so be it.

This is not the feminine way. Gossip, backbiting, anonymous rumors, whisper campaigns, hypocritical friendliness toward enemies and victims, is the result of unhooking the female approach from its normal social conventions, braking mechanisms, or feedbacks.

It is as much a hash as if a husband were to run a household, or a neighborhood get-together, by means of written rules, salutes and medals, and schedules strictly enforced, regardless of age or ability of the children to perform.

When a modern politician both says that killing children in the womb is a matter of a women’s sovereignty over her own body, and that mandatory vaccinations are a matter of public health, and that Voter ID is racist, but that vaccination passports are necessary, and that using troops to guard the borders of Trashcanistan is cromulent, but using border patrolmen to patrol the border of the United States is fascism, he is reasoning entirely in a feminine way, expressing all his policies in terms of compassion toward the alleged victims of opposing policies.

Now, the reason why feminine thinking, which is perfectly logical in the situations and roles for which it is designed, is traditionally dismissed by men as illogical, is that feminine thinking is primarily concerned with the matter under discussion, not the form.

Women are concerned with what is in your heart, how you feel about it, not how well you perform the task at hand. This is for the perfectly logical reason that women are more suited to being mothers than being taskmasters, and a mother must train a child, not just to do a task, but to want to do it, so that he will have it as a habit and a virtue when he reaches majority, and is no longer under her control. A taskmaster, on the other hand, needs to get the job done. A man on a team, a workcrew, a squad, whether it be a hunting party or a soldier troop, must be willing, if need be, to risk life and limb for his crewmates, but he does not have to like them.

As the roles and goals differ, so too do the approach to arguments of male and female thinking.

In a female argument, one does not compare, as if they both had rights, the rights of the baby to be born and the rights of the mother to kill the baby to prevent the birth.

That type of comparison is formal and abstract: logic takes the given proposition and reverses the terms, leaving the form of the proposition intact and seeing the result. Instead, the female style argument makes and emotional appeal to the suffering the mother, casting her if need be as the victim of rape and incest, and the child is not named, not noticed, not even granted the dignity of being called a child. Junior is a mass of cells.

Likewise, the enforcement of a southern border is depicted merely in terms of the dashed hopes of a suffering wetback fleeing horror and oppression in his home nation, and yearning for the soil of America to breathe free. To require him to enter legally is an idea that lingers as namelessly as the aborted child. Discussing logic or law derails the sentimentality of the argument, and so cannot be discussed.

A mother dealing with bickering brats has good reason to quell the endless and pointless debate over whose turn it was and who struck first and so on, to force the little ones to forgive and make peace. Discussion of the fine points of legality between four and five year olds who think themselves wronged is a waste of time.

A mother’s mission in the nursery is not to serve as umpire, but as mother, so she rightly quells debates rather than listening through them. This instinct is healthy and right. This same healthy instinct when hauled to the public stage becomes hellish.

One of the two national parties merely adopts SHUT UP as their slogan, and their effort is not to answer honest questions about their policies and the expected results, but to quell criticism in the name of national unity.

A nanny-state that treats all her citizens as children, even if administered by no one but men, in spirit is a matriarchy.