On Clothing and Beautification Norms

Leftwing social critics of the modern tradition describe social norms as arbitrary, especially as they relate to gender. They (henceforth, “leftists”) have an equally noticeable tendency to be wrong, and I bet the matters described herein are no exception.

First, the word “arbitrary” denotes that which happens without reason. With leftists, it means, “For reasons that I should not be expected to care about,” so obviously I will not bother to argue against that. I will give some possible reasons, and then people’s moral proclivities be what they may.

Men and women have different clothing norms almost everywhere, with exceptions, just as there are exceptions to the proposition that nodding of the head up and down is an affirmative gesture. The latter is overwhelmingly common in a vast range of cultures, but it does not follow from its being less than totally universal that it is arbitrary. There is some reason that the tendency exists, even if it is just as simple as copying a high-status group.

Likewise: clothes. Dresses and skirts are strongly associated with femaleness and trousers only weakly with maleness, to such a degree that a skirt on a male is sometimes seen as an aberration and trousers on women not. Some have tried, without lasting success, to change this.

It is questionable how common clothing styles now associated with women have been on men for much of history. The kinds of “skirt-like” or “dress-like” attire that have been somewhat common among men at various points include pulpit robes or cassocks, which have specialised uses; they are not everyday attire for the wearers, and many are relics of the Roman tradition, which I will get to later. Indeed, trousers were apparently common only on men in medieval England, and certainly among the Germanic tribes (Didorus Siculus, V, section 30) and Persians. Charlemagne (Laver. pp. 52-3) donned the tunic, which is dress-like enough, for ceremonial reasons and otherwise wore trousers.

Nevertheless, tunics and kirtles were easy to see on both sexes when they were popular. So one could easily get the impression that trousers and trouser-like garments have become less gendered through time, whereas skirt-like and dress-like garments have become more so. What changed?

The reasons people wore particular types of clothing were different in the past. Practicality, cost, class divisions, and social conservatism were high in the past. Setting aside the thorny question of how knee-length vestments and tights became high-status among European males of the upper class, one can look at the Romans. Braccae (woollen trousers) were associated with barbarians and trousers were seldom worn by Romans. Nevertheless, soldiers did use trousers when practical, especially in the cold regions of the empire. Rome held its clothing conventions in high enough esteem that, after the Empire’s collapse, they were still followed for reasons of tradition qua tradition, and status.

In many professions, especially in the industrial era, skirts and dresses would have proven impractical for a lot of work, most conspicuously among working-class men, and to the extent that this was true, wearing those garments would have been associated with impracticality and therefore low status. The examples are fairly obvious, but this is of questionable relevance to the present day when the majority of work is in the tertiary and quaternary sectors.

It looks almost as though before the 1800s some men wore trousers but far fewer women, and trousers were not “in” as the default male fashion choice until the 1800s.

Finally, perhaps most saliently, clothing for purely ornamental purposes was rare historically outside the elite. Aristocrats especially the French, and Georgian-era gentry, were known for it, but never the average person. This changed in the 20th century, especially the second half. Interestingly, trousers started to become fashionable among women in the West at about the same time that short skirts did. For trousers, I would guess it was a matter of practicality and, secondarily, dissociation from any historic tradition, e.g. that of the Romans or the Catholic Church. In the latter, changing sexual mores (hence, miniskirts) and social mores; the trouser’s association with work, an essential part of the male sex role, came to embody a kind of archetype which some women sought to copy as the 20th century went along.

The association of long (e.g. ankle-length) skirts and dresses with chastity was probably not as strong in the early 20th century as later, because there was less in public life with which to contrast it, i.e. the miniskirt-wearers were barely present.

Today, almost the only reasons to be choosy about what one wears are aesthetic, whether sexual or not. Thus, the vast majority of men do not even wear shorts unless 1) the weather is unbearably hot or 2) they are performing some activity that necessitates it or makes it easier, e.g. running and swimming. No one is interested in seeing men’s legs per se except homosexual men. By contrast, women’s legs are objects of intense desire and adoration for legions. So, in the present, a man who wears a long skirt or dress is giving off signals of chastity or sexual innocence, which is ridiculous in men. If he wears a short skirt or dress, he is giving off signals of sexual attractiveness, which, again, is absurd; the visual advertisement of these qualities is nearly meaningless in men: especially for chastity, but even for attractiveness unless he is profoundly physically attractive.

Other social changes have come about along the same course for comparable reasons, such as the practice of leg-shaving, far more common in women than men, and in men it is typically to highlight musculature: athletes, swimmers, models, etc.

One finds oneself suspicious of anyone claiming that a social trend emerged from the aether simply because of marketing or propaganda. The evidence that propaganda, after controlling for confounding factors, affects public opinion is thin. It is not even true of Hitler’s speeches. There are always confounds: some economic, some endogenous and innate. It is sometimes claimed that the preference for shaven legs came about in the early 20th century in response to specific ad campaigns, which explains why one sees loads of old paintings of women with visibly hairy legs. At least, it would explain that if it were true.

Few women have their legs shaved the year round unless they live in a climate wherein they can expect to have their legs bare on any given day. In the past, when women seldom used their legs as sexual ornaments, it is reasonable to deduce that shaving was even rarer but became common once they did commonly use them for that purpose. Are we really to believe that this is a coincidence?

Women have sparser leg hair than men to begin with, which is a neotenous trait along with lack of facial hair, lower height, paedomorphism in facial structure, etc, all of which are considered highly attractive in women. Since relative lack of hirsutism is a sex-typical trait in females and the heightened neoteny that shaving projects is attractive, women who frequently have their legs bared shave them. This is descriptive, not to say that anyone of either sex is ethically obliged to be attractive. However, what constitutes an attractive feature is fairly universal.

Tangentially, something similar occurred to cause the gradual skin-lightening of Europeans. Women almost universally have lighter skin than men, and more sex-typical features are preferred in mates. Europe is thought to have had a female-skewed sex ratio for much of its prehistory, thus increasing competition among females for mates and upwardly modulating selection upon elements of female sexual attractiveness, many of which spilled over into males either as byproducts or due to bidirectional sexual selection. This is one reason among many why Europeans are the most attractive race.

All this could be obvious. Much of it may have been once. Alas, few have any interest in finding the knowledge themselves.

Ethnocentrism, or How I Learned to Stop Caring and Abandon Eternally Unreciprocated Altruism

Like many or perhaps most people with a verbally slanted intelligence profile, I used to invest a lot of energy into heady academic philosophy, especially ethics. The distant vision of a cognitively post-human species and a suffering-free world governed by utilitarian moral codes probably stimulated my endogenous opioid system. In retrospect, it seems to have been little more than an indulgence, which is my impression of credentialled ethicists generally – particularly utilitarians. They are content to spend eternity arguing over the merits of classical vs. negative utilitarianism, or whether the balance of hedonic and dystonic impulses that sentient life experiences can be said to make it “worth living or reproducing,” etc. For what it is worth, my meta-ethical views are anti-realist: I do not believe that any moral system is the “correct one.” Utilitarianism may be useful insomuch as most beings do value happiness and disvalue suffering. But the complexity of moral values in humans is such that these categories will never be quantifiable to anyone’s satisfaction, and prescriptive antinatalism is a dead end for reasons I have discussed before. Although, non-human life is not such a tough call. People who romanticise the beauty of the natural world are admiring the décor of a planet-sized torture chamber. It is, as Dawkins observed, “beyond all decent contemplation,” and I would have no compunction in painlessly culling most of it if I and my kind were the governors of the known universe.

If. Herein lies a cautionary tale against the distinctly European tendency of embracing blind universalism. There is no coming future of global utilitarian welfarism, at least not one with internally coherent goals or loyalties, because for most of the peoples of this Earth, the only relevant loyalty is to their group, their moral community, their kith and kin – whatever that looks like. It need not be racial, although it usually is in part. Recent computer model data have shown how ethnocentric orientation fares in competition with three alternative group strategies: humanitarianism (English liberals, effectively), egoism, and traitors (SJWs). The last of these is found to be the least effective strategy by far, which is why in the long run there is little reason to worry about traitorous progressive ideologues. Eventually they will learn the hard way. Ethnocentrism wins the day against humanitarianism too, by exploiting the generosity of humanitarians. This sheds light on how ethnocentrism evolved without invoking impossibilities such as group selection in humans, and how it is that this strategy seems to predominate, quietly, even in relatively humanitarian populations. It also illustrates why calling immigration leftist or anti-tribal is such a farce. Far too many white people see it as such because they are humanitarians – optimised to believe that their group-blind, gene-blind preferences are completely generalisable.

There is no indication that moral preferences can ever transcend genetic conflict. If it could, an awful lot of things in human history would have taken a different course. Political preferences are certainly heritable, and although it may be impractical to seek twin-study data on ethical systems, I would be willing to bet that there is also a common genetic architecture to utilitarians, humanitarians, libertarians, and advocates of “effective altruism.” One aspect of their shared phenotype is distinctly visible whenever large numbers of them congregate, as many have observed. Some even seem to understand, perhaps unconsciously, just how rarefied their values are and endorse global government as a solution. But would all the opportunities for abuse in such a system be worth it? Would anyone other than its own architects, presumably Westerners, consent to its rulership? Indeed, if these are the measures necessary to bring the world into value-alignment, why not push for genetic imperialism, i.e. diluting the phenotypic diversity of the human species through genetic engineering so as to render everyone effective clones of Will MacAskill and Diana Fleischman?

Don’t laugh. Some people actually take this seriously as a solution. Their profile is predictable: white, middle class, educated, and living in a country in which the problems that were not there before multiracialism are getting increasingly hard to ignore – although it is a relatively safe assumption that they live nowhere near it themselves. They understand that group differences, even in something as simple as IQ, are enough to cause resentment (that is why racial affirmative action exists), and advocate post-racialism via genetic enhancement. It sounds nice enough until you realise that it would give hostile aliens yet more reasons to emigrate to the West, with our finite resources, but there is no reciprocal allowance for whites to move into Africa and Asia and take them over. Furthermore, given that there is more to group conflict than IQ, who is to say that this would ameliorate group tensions enough to be worth the risk? In the end, what we are talking about is a literal horror movie replacement scenario in which POC are converted into high-class whites who just happen to have brown bodies. How many would willingly subject themselves to this, and how many of those who rejected it would continue to fan the flames of ethnic conflict?

The reason the appraisal of group differences is important to begin with is that nearly all human altruism is based on either reciprocity or sociogenetic closeness. Thus, a universal basic income within a homogeneous society is at least justifiable on the grounds that it is helping to maintain the social order, reducing economic inequality, and the recipients, if they do something destructive with the money, are only going to self-destruct. In a country like the United States, those paying through their taxes, whites, would have legitimate cause to wonder: “Why is money being forcefully extracted from me and given to people who often explicitly say they want me destroyed?” This, too, spurs on conflict. Foreign aid has yet more pitfalls. Since Africans mostly lack the intelligence to build civilisation alone, they rely on foreign donors, their population explodes, and then masses of them die in Malthusian collapses.

Some humanitarians are prepared to accept that we will probably never get to explore much of the universe, for a host of pragmatic reasons. It seems all the more implausible these days. With two interstellar objects passing through the solar system in as many years, it is looking as though interstellar space is chock-full of fast-moving debris, and since no one actually wants to live on Mars (I don’t), we may well be stuck on this planet. Yet, the same people are unwilling to acknowledge the barriers to moral unity within the human species, and the power dynamics inherent to any attempts at “conversion.” It has already been tried by colonialists. Didn’t work. Why would it this time?

Ultimately, idealists must accept that the only effective way for their ideas to propagate is for their moral community to propagate its genes. The most effective way to do that is for the idealists to secure for themselves exclusive territories, build artificial uteri, and use them to create more copies of themselves. After all, natural human reproduction is much less efficient than that of some e.g. fishes, which can produce a million offspring in a year. Technology offers a way around this, such that we can all be Genghis. The result? An endless supply of persons who share your values and interests, not to mention all the possibilities of genetic and cybernetic enhancement. Not everyone will be welcome to your territory. But I promise, the sooner you can get over that, the happier and saner you, and everyone, will be.

Emily Ratajkowski’s Modest Proposal

In response to Alabama’s recent, controversial, abortion legislation, model and former Blurred Lines music video star, Emily Ratajkowski, posed nude on Instagram, bemoaning how the bill would “perpetuate the industrial prison complex by preventing women of low economic opportunity the right to choose to not reproduce,” and further how: “the states trying to ban abortion are the states that have the highest proportions of black women living there.” Ratajkowski, a sex-positive feminist, was obviously blind to her implicit appeal to eugenics, but Breitbart journalist John Nolte jumped at the opportunity to push the recently-popular narrative that “Democrats are the real racists,” going so far as to claim that “Ratajkowski Believes Killing Black Babies Is a Public Service”, and accusing her of white-supremacy, even comparing her comment to “anything you would read at ‘The Daily Stormer’”. In fact, Ratajkowski’s sentiments are neither as “woke” as she’d like to think, or as fascist as Nolte would like to accuse her of but reflect a kind of pragmatism taboo to both the mainstream left and the mainstream right: an overlooked meeting point between humanitarian concerns and elitist/conservative-minded population control.

The relationship between legalized abortion and falling crime rates has, in fact, been well studied, with results pointing to the not-at-all surprising notion that requiring every pregnancy to go to term, no matter how unwanted or inauspicious, may not actually be great for society. Many scholars cite Roe V. Wade as the prime culprit in the staggering, American, crime-drop of the 1990’s, for example. The demographic angle on this truth is touchier but also founded in reality. Blacks are disproportionately likely to be affected by those conditions which lead to poverty and crime, and sure enough, the most recent data shows them representing 54% of those incarcerated in Alabama despite representing just 26% of the population, and this still after comprising a majority of the aborted pregnancies in the state (62% in 2017). Ratajkowski’s point is basically that we as a society are churning out large numbers of people who are predestined by sociocultural conditions and the prison industrial complex to live miserable lives, and that this is especially obvious in a state like Alabama. It’s hard to imagine that inviting the number of single, black, Alabaman mothers to skyrocket—as does the state’s new abortion bill—wont perpetuate increases in poverty, general unrest, and higher incarceration rates in Alabama’s awful prisons (the deadliest in the country). Certainly, this outcome seems more likely than “one of those black babies” emerging from one of the worst public school systems in the country to “cure cancer” as John Nolte chides us.

It would seem that promoting absolute control over reproduction to those members of society most affected by adversity would be something that both humanitarians of the left, and those concerned with conserving social order and demographics on the right should find common ground on—but such agreement is far from sight.

As exemplified by the Nolte article, the right is utterly delusional on this point: willing only to make moralistic arguments against abortion, and as a result unwilling to engage with any arguments for it no matter how pragmatic. Allergic to coupling their opposition to abortion with any reasonable plans to increase the social welfare of those most likely to seek it out, the pro-life GOP must rely on the myth that anyone can lead a good and productive life if only they pick themselves up by their bootstraps. As usual, their exaggerated focus on the individual and personal responsibility makes them blind to dynamics that can only be grasped on a larger scale. The pro-life movement is part the same principles-based conservative tradition that supports starting foreign wars in order to spread “freedom and democracy” worldwide. It riles up a certain, obnoxious, segment of the population but its big-picture, long-term, effects are disastrous and tend to have the very opposite effect of “conserving” anything. “Never mind all the refugees! Never mind all the unwanted children! Freedom and democracy are absolute ends in themselves, and abortion is murder!” In this sense, the pro-life victory in Alabama must be viewed in the same vein as so many other “accomplishments” of the Trump era: rather than moving conservatism toward something more nationalistic and pragmatic—as promised and as is necessary—Trump has come to embody the last desperate gasp of boomer Conservative talking points.

The left occasionally makes valid points about abortion but no longer connects them with any broader program for maintaining a healthy, cohesive society. Rather, the pro-choice movement is now packaged with disastrous policies like laissez-faire immigration, support for the reproduction-incentivizing welfare state, and, increasingly, a general devotion to demographic change and cultural dissolution. And yet, occasionally someone like Ratajkowski comes along and says something on the abortion issue that makes one grow nostalgic for the more sensible tone of the early 20th century progressive era.

There is, of course, a precedent for talking about the eugenics of birth control and the historical figure who best represents these ideas is none other than progressive era figurehead and Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger. Pro-lifers love to talk about how Sanger was pro-eugenics and therefore basically Hitler. Many of them would be surprised to learn that Sanger was in fact anti-abortion and simply a radical proponent of contraception. She was indeed pro-eugenics but wasn’t a mere social Darwinist. For Sanger, eugenics and a humanitarian concern for the poor went hand-in-hand. Not only would birth-control reduce the population of an underclass whose high fertility rates had a demonstrably negative impact on society, but also it could improve that class’s standard of living. Just as critics of immigration accurately point out that immigration has a negative impact on the citizens of a country who must compete with new arrivals for jobs, Sanger argued that promoting birth control to adversely affected communities would empower them to advance. That such a promotion of birth control would also have a eugenic effect was simply another, complementary benefit. Her biggest crime, it seems, was to question the idea that all lives are necessarily good and valuable things—a cardinal offense in a mass-democratic society.

The fact is, it’s easier to virtue signal against eugenics than to provide the underclass a decent life. Leave it to the irrational banter of the culture wars to prevent us from having a more productive conversation about reproductive rights.

The Chavs Are Not Listening

Many self-identified antinatalists adhere to some form of negative utilitarianism and are convinced that their not having children will reduce the net suffering of the world. Let us set aside the thorny question of whether beliefs have non-trivial causal efficacy independent of genes – which I doubt (<< skip to table 3). Who, prima facie, finds these ideas attractive?

Socially liberal, virtue-signalling (I use that phrase descriptively, not pejoratively), high-IQ persons of northern European descent who enjoy burying their heads in esoteric thought. In other words, the group who are most interested in, and most likely to, improve the lot of the living world. Any suffering that might await the children of these people is nothing compared with the Third World, nothing compared with what lies behind us, and with what may yet lie ahead. What will their beliefs do to arrest current population trends, such as Africa’s population boom, which is certain to engender much suffering? Can we market antinatalism to Africans – in a profoundly, brilliantly, orgiastically non-racist way?

That these problems do not occur to otherwise intelligent and well-informed people tells you a lot about how important keeping up appearances is as a human motivation, even or perhaps especially in “rationalist” circles: what matters is whether the ideas sound coherent to others in your social group, not whether they take account of reality as is.

If there is one thing that the cognitive elite of the West could really do with keeping in mind, whatever else happens, it is this:

The chavs are not listening.

The Lighter Side of the Black Pill

“when you leave a cookie in the oven too long” – @idiot_ teen

Politics is retarded. Only powerful crystals can save us. The attempt at persuasion of people is mostly pointless. You can articulate your position expertly, easily refuting the same flimsy arguments and pathetic clichés you’ve heard a thousand times. Meanwhile, transracial pop star Ariana Grande tweets nothing but “goo goo gaga” baby talk all day long and has 59 million loyal followers. Perhaps you believe that by mastering the language of “goo goo gaga” baby talk, you can enlist and mobilize 60 million empty vessels toward the project of securing your fleeting geopolitical ends. Wouldn’t it be just as fruitful to purchase a packet of sea monkeys and appoint yourself their supreme overlord? Before you start thinking about how you’re going to “save” Western civilization with your based dwarven fash army, have a look around. Half your office is probably already filled with Indian programmers who’ve never even seen an episode of 90210. Most people can’t even handle the level of civilization required to adhere to the assigned parking spaces map in a typical suburban apartment complex. Whatever remains of the prospect of any meaningful nationalism (in the US at least) has already been ruined by mathematically challenged, short sighted, Neo-Quaylist, “family values” tradfag retreads like….well I won’t name any names because there’s no point. They’ll never get it. In fact, if by some miracle these wacktivists are successful in reclaiming or “saving” anything, the resulting society will likely be a place equally or less desirable to live in than what would exist otherwise. In other words, they’re offering at best a zero sum outcome, like Tic Tac Toe. There is no viable electoral pathway toward overcoming the legislative and judicial obstacles standing in the way of restoring or even maintaining a nation-state that would exist in any recognizable form other than name only. Why throw your support behind politicians and “thought” leaders that don’t have your back and don’t even share your goals. Why make common cause with people who aren’t on remotely the same page as each other and who may not even understand what your core beliefs are? Why aspire to become some Mr Potato-Head barbarian when you can immortalize yourself in the world of Melrose Place fanfiction?

Above all else, whenever you start lapsing into romantic idealizations of humanity, it’s important to remember that people are pests. To quote Uncle Charlie in Shadow of a Doubt:

You go through your ordinary little day and at night you sleep your untroubled, ordinary little sleep filled with peaceful, stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares! Or did I, or was it a silly inexpert little lie. You live in a dream. You’re a sleepwalker, blind. How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if you rip the fronts off houses you’d find swine? The world’s a hell. What does it matter what happens in it? Wake up, Charlie! Use your wits. Learn something.

The only way forward is to check out and ascend into the ether, carving out a portably permeative, floating couch cushion fort existence somewhere over the heads of the tot bots …and through the place which can only be reached by those with the capacity to detect its presence.