Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism

``Where the Bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church'' Ignatius of Antioch, 1st c. A.D

The Garbage Generation
Chapter IX

For years IBM has run a magazine ad showing two pairs of colored infant booties, pink and blue, with the question "GUESS WHICH ONE WILL GROW UP TO BE THE ENGINEER." Underneath there is this:

As things stand now, it doesn't take much of a guess. Because by and large, he is encouraged to excel in math and science. She isn't.

Whatever the reason for this discrepancy, the cost to society is enormous because it affects women's career choices and limits the contributions they might make. Only 4% of all engineers are women. Only 13.6% of all math and science Ph.D.'s are women. An encouraging, but still low, 26% of all computer professionals are women.

In the past ten years, IBM has supported more than 90 programs designed to strengthen women's skills in these and other areas. This support includes small grants for pre- college programs in engineering, major grants for science programs at leading women's colleges, and grants for doctoral fellowships in physics, computer science, mathematics, chemistry, engineering, and materials science.

We intend to continue supporting programs like these. Because we all have a lot to gain with men and women on equal footing. IBM

What IBM thinks of as the promotion of equality is better understood as the undermining of hypergamy, one of the pillars of the patriarchal system. Hypergamy, or the "marriage gradient," means that women "marry up," men "marry down." A cinder girl may hope to marry Prince Charming, but a chimney sweep cannot hope to marry Princess Charming. A male doctor might well marry a female nurse, but a female doctor would hardly consider marrying a male nurse. The female nurse may be underpaid, but in the marriage market her prospects are better than those of the female doctor because there are more desirable males she can hope to "marry up" to.

The social implications of the IBM program may be suggested by asking some other questions concerning the possessors of the blue and pink booties:





IBM's question implies that society's arrangements tilt in favor of males. The fact is that society's arrangements produce more male winners and more male losers. One principal reason for the success of the male winners is the knowledge that they might well be losers: they must earn their success and are motivated to earn it partly by the greater risk of failure. IBM proposes to intervene in society's arrangements to confer benefits on females which will increase the number of female winners without increasing the number of female losers. What will increase is the number of male losers, since the male engineers will be competing not only with each other but with females enjoying a conferred advantage denied to males. Another question:


With IBM interfering with "market forces" this question might have to be re-worded: "attain status by marriage or by IBM's largess." As IBM offers women more status, marriage has less to offer them-- men have less to offer them. Men's marriageability is decreased because they have relatively less to offer women; women's marriageability is decreased because they have fewer men to "marry up" to. As IBM transfers status from those more dependent on work and self-discipline to those less dependent on work and self- discipline, men will become less motivated, since the rewards for work and self-discipline are reduced. The effect, though at a higher level of income, will be what is observable in the ghetto, where women enjoying the handouts of the welfare bureaucracy and become economically and status-wise independent of men, with the consequence that large numbers of men become de-motivated and less marriageable.

Two more questions:


The consequences of IBM's favors to females can be found on page 42 of Nickles and Ashcraft's The Coming Matriarchy:

[Those women] who work prefer smaller families, and fewer children means more time to devote to personal and nondomestic interests. Our survey revealed that the working woman not only prefers a smaller family but, in fact, fewer have children. Only 61 percent of the working women we surveyed had children, compared with 85 percent of the nonworking women....Our survey also showed that working women have less successful marriages....[A] woman who works was five times as likely to have a disrupted marriage as one who did not work....[W]orking wives are more than twice as likely as housewives to have had affairs by the time they reach their late thirties....Researchers have found that the longer a wife is employed, the more both partners think about divorce--an increase of one percentage point for each year of her employment. Things get worse as she earns more money. Vassar economist Shirley Johnson calculated that every $1,000 increase in a wife's earnings increases her chance for divorce by 2 percent....These working women, who earn $20,000-plus, are the most likely of all women to be separated or divorced.

According to research by three Yale sociologists, "women wed to less-educated or younger men had marital dissolution rates at least 50% greater than those marrying similarly educated or older men. Better-educated husbands brought no increased risk to the marriage....

Writing of high-achieving executive women, Edith Gilson says:

When we turn to our women's private lives, we see more reasons for distress. Surely, some of their career frustrations could be offset by the emotional support of husbands and children...but for a startling number of the women, marriage and children are comforts they live without. According to this study, the odds that an executive woman will never marry are four times greater than for the average American woman. Only 5 percent of most women age thirty and up have never wed (the 1985 Census), whereas 21 percent of our executive women have never been brides.

Even if our women do marry, the probability of their divorcing is twice as great as the norm. Thirty percent are currently divorced, and another 10 percent are on second or third marriages. Forty percent of all our women have therefore been divorced--compared with just 20 percent of most women in their same age range.

The differences between our women and their male peers are even more striking. Less than half (48 percent) of our women are currently married--compared with a whopping 96 percent of executive men....What's more, just 11 percent of the men have been divorced, compared with nearly four times as many of our women.

Many of the women I interviewed felt that men couldn't handle being married to women as or more successful then they. "Here we've gone and sweat blood to become independent, to become women the men can have intelligent conversations with-- and they don't want us!" lamented Laura, the pretty magazine editor.

A man's friends would never congratulate him for "marrying up." They would make jokes about his eligibility for membership in the Dennis Thatcher Society, an organization "honoring" the husband of the British Prime Minister. On the other hand, one of the most damning things a woman's friends can say of her (behind her back, naturally) is "Margaret married beneath herself."

Let's project IBM's program into the future. Let's suppose the wearers of the blue and pink booties grow up and both become engineers. Then:



Virginia Woolf thought as IBM thinks: families would make great sacrifices to educate their sons, few sacrifices to educate their daughters. She failed to understand the reason: education enables sons to have families, to provide for wives and children who would benefit from the sons' education economically and by the transmission of the knowledge and the values embodied in the education. Educating daughters does not enable them to provide for husbands, and greatly decreases likelihood of their having stable marriages. The birthrate of educated women is far lower than the birthrate of educated men. (Ms. Woolf herself was childless, as are most feminists.) What Bernard Lentz says of professional men and women of the period l890-l940 is true of other eras:

Even for the "superperformers" [the most successful professional women]...marriage still led to diminished success, resentment, and a distracting tension in their personal lives. In contrast, men at this time found marriage had numerous advantages in their climb up the professional hierarchy....

Ergo, society has a greater interest in encouraging and furthering the education of males. Educating a boy enables him to have and to support a family, to give children an advantage in life, to transmit family values and strengthen the patriarchy, to create social stability. Educating a girl enables her to escape marriage, or if she marries, to escape childbearing or to have a smaller family. Education, which increases her independence, will enable her more easily to expel her husband and inflict upon her offspring (whose custody is virtually guaranteed her) the disadvantages accompanying fatherlessness. Feminists see these options as desirable, but why should IBM or the rest of us see them as desirable?

Hypergamy worked the same way four thousand years ago. Feminist Dr. Elise Boulding writes of "Urbanization, the Rise of the State and the New Conditions for Women" in the second millennium B. C.:

What I have been describing is certainly not "equality" for women. Military action became increasingly important throughout the second millennium, and each new arms levy, each new conscription of soldiers, and each new round of booty brought home from a successful war, would enhance the power differential between women and men of the elite. The women's access to the new resources was far more limited than that of men. Power was shared, but not shared equally.

Not shared equally--meaning that the women didn't share equally with the victorious males, the males who took the risks and endured the ardors of military life and earned the booty. How much of the booty was earned by the women? None, and that is why they were lesser sharers. For every victorious male there was a defeated male who lost the booty and perhaps his freedom or his life. Dr. Boulding makes no comparison between women and these male losers--just as feminists see themselves discriminated against by the absence of women in the Senate and the upper echelons of corporate power and the engineering profession, but choose not to notice that there is a similar absence of women in prison and on Skid Row. IBM's question, carried back four millennia, would be: "Which one is more likely to earn booty?" Another relevant question would be: "Which one is more likely to have booty conferred upon him/her?" IBM's implied argument is: Since men are more likely to earn benefits, women deserve to have more benefits conferred upon them.

Feminist-economist Dr. Barbara Bergmann offers a little paradigm-story about Pink People and Blue People earning their living by picking berries on an island. Like women and men in our own society the Pinks and Blues have sex-segregated occupations. Dr. Bergmann thus illustrates "the crucial point":

If a group is segregated and furthermore is crowded into a relatively narrow segment of labor-market turf, its members will as a result be less productive, and their economic rewards will be lower.

(It is a sufficient refutation of this to point out that Senators are a segregated group occupying a narrow segment of the labor-market turf, but they do not suffer from low economic rewards.) She continues:

The line of argument will be made clearer if we resort to a simplified example. Consider an island inhabited by the two tribes of people, the Pinks and the Blues, both of whom make their living gathering berries....If all gatherers were allowed to range over the whole island, individual gatherers' yields would vary with their talent, energy, and luck. Given our assumption that the two tribes have equal average talents, the average yield per gatherer would be the same in both tribes.

However, suppose the island's territory was partitioned between the tribes, so that gatherers were allowed to pick berries only in the territory assigned to their tribe. Were each tribe assigned a share of the territory about proportional to its size, and of equal average quality per acre, then again the yield per gatherer in the two tribes should be about the same. However, suppose the Blue tribe were to be assigned exclusive possession or a disproportionately large share of territory. In that case, the work of members of the Blue tribe would on average bring in a greater yield than the work of members of the Pink tribe. If the land the Blue tribe got was higher in quality than the Pink's, the Pink tribe's disadvantage would be greater still.

Dr. Bergmann's Blues like to imagine they don't discriminate against the Pinks:

The way things are arranged on our mythical island, no one says to a Pink worker, "Because you are a Pink, we will see to it that you get less than a Blue." The mechanism that arranges for Pinks to get less is a set of rules about who may work where. As long as everyone follows the rules and all hands keep to their place, the Pinks will average less production per person than the Blues and will take home less "pay" for their efforts.

The restriction of the Pinks to a relatively small territory reduces the efficiency of labor on the island as a whole. The total number of berries picked on the island would rise were the territorial restrictions on the Pinks to be relaxed. If some Pinks were allowed into the Blues' territory, it would relieve the overcrowding in the Pinks' part of the island.

The assumption is that there is a labor shortage--one in high status occupations--never an unemployment problem.

If a boatload of social scientists were to visit the island portrayed in our example, they might hear from theoreticians belonging to the Blue tribe that its success was a sign of innately superior talent and greater attention to business. They might also hear that all Pinks voluntarily restricted themselves to their own territory. If, however, these social scientists observed the segregation of the two tribes, the relative devices used to keep Pinks from infiltrating Blue territory, they might very well conclude that the inequality of rewards was connected to the exclusion of Pinks from the Blues' territory.

What they would notice, if the Blues and Pinks resembled men and women, is the greater aggression and motivation of the Blues -- and that the island society had organized itself to utilize this greater aggression and motivation. Dr. Bergmann alludes to African societies which fail to do this:

There are certain societies in Africa where women do all of the heavy agricultural work, all of the business dealings, and all of the work of family care. The men are at leisure full time. In such a society, presumably no tasks are unsuitable for women. The designation of some jobs as unsuitable for women in any particular society is a matter of social convention rather than a reflection of women's inherent disabilities or inborn dislikes for certain kinds of work. People's ideas about suitability can and do change when the economy changes.

The problem is the waste of men's talents. Would Dr. Bergmann care to live in such a society? The jobs are equally available to men and women, but the men will not take them and therefore the society fails to thrive. There is no reason for men to work and create wealth to make themselves attractive to women because women work for themselves and because sex is unregulated and available to men without their having to work. The goals of feminism have been achieved--and society remains at the level of the Stone Age.

If men cannot outperform women they will not perform at all, and society will be lucky if male energies are merely wasted in narcissistic display rather than in disruptive violence and machismo. A man with nothing to offer a woman save a paycheck the size of her own is impossibly disadvantaged. He will know, and his wife will know that he knows, that the words "I don't need you, Mister" are always at her disposal and, thanks to the anti-male bias of the divorce court, she has an authority in the family greater than his own. Patriarchal capitalism prospers because it creates an arena of work wherein males are allowed to succeed and create wealth and where they are motivated to do so and rewarded for doing so by the satisfactions of family living.

The key idea of the alternative matriarchal/feminist system is thus stated by Faye Wattleton, President of Planned Parenthood:

Together we can work to achieve the most important goal of Planned Parenthood--to give all people the right and the ability to decide for themselves whether and when to bear children.

All people signifies all female people. Wattleton demands the right of all female people to deny to all male people any reproductive decision-making:

I believe that no woman, black or white, rich or poor, can ever truly be free without the right to control her own reproductive life. [Emphasis added]

Ms. Wattleton's pitch for "reproductive rights" and Dr. Bergmann's pitch for taking better jobs away from men to confer them on women come to the same thing: men are excluded from meaningful participation in reproduction. Men become superfluous members of families. The basis of civilized society is that men shall share equally in reproductive decision-making, and shall earn the right to do so by working. The program of feminism is to deny men this right by undermining the sexual constitution, the Legitimacy Principle, marriage and the family. When they talk about women's reproductive rights and about making women economically independent of men, this is what they mean.

Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Annex to chapter I
Additional note

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