Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Roy F. Baumeister and Kathleen D. Vohs: Is There Anything Good About Women? The Answer: Other Than Sex? No. PART 1.

That title riffs on Roy F. Baumeister's 2010 book title:  Is There Anything Good About Men?

Misogynists always toss that reference to my face.   According to them,  the book is an explanation about the world based on the idea that women are pretty disgusting and feeble creatures butting into the society which men alone created.  Women cannot create anything worthwhile, don't understand technology, never created organizations, never created art or music and so on.  That's what is good about men:  They are better than women.

I wrote about Mr. Baumeister's 2009 speech (which then became the book) before.

Here's how he looks

He teaches at the psychology department of  Florida State University.

Now he has joined forces with Kathleen D. Vohs.  This is how she looks:

She teaches marketing at the Carlson School of Management, University of Minnesota.

Both of these august professors have their training in some sort of psychology.  Could be evolutionary psychology, I'm not sure.  BUT neither one of them is an economist.

This matters, because they are promoting something they call "sexual economics."  They offer this as the main theory to explain the relationship between men and women and even the ultimate question about the role of women.    You can read all about this wonderful theory here, and I will spend reams of words explaining what is wrong with that theory and why it is not really economics and how vast chunks of evidence are totally and utterly ignored in such flippant pseudo-theories.  None of this will have any impact on the misogynists adopting the theory.  Which means that you will hear about it a lot in the future.

Before truth gets its hobnailed boots on lie has run half-way around the world.  So let's put those boots on, friends.

What is the message of professors Baumeister and Vohs?  If I wanted to summarize it as succinctly as possible, the message goes like this:

Men are the smart human beings.  They have created the culture, the society, its arts, sciences and its technology.   Women are almost unnecessary.  That they are not completely unnecessary is because men want them for sex.  (That women are also necessary for the creation of men appears not to be noticed by the authors of this piece.)

Indeed, men created all those organizations, arts, sciences and technology to get pussy.  How, exactly, that worked in the past is a bit unclear*, though  it seems to be based on women being kept away from all other ways of earning a living, pretty much, except through the sale of their pussies to men, either in open  markets or through marital long-term contracts.  If the only way for women to survive was by selling sex to men, then the men with the most money would get most access to sex.  Something of this sort.

Fast forward to near-present time.  Ignore the discontinuity in thinking.  Suddenly decide that women now want access to men's institutions, preferential treatment in them but still also want marriage.  Where all these sudden desires came from**, after years of a system of sex-trading which seemed to have worked so well is very unclear.  But let's ignore that.  Let's just ask why men let women in.  Why didn't they simply keep those pesky whiners away from the boys' tree houses?  After all, the Taliban still succeeds in that!

The answer, as you guessed, is sex!  Somehow women, as a group, managed to tell men, as a group, that if only they were allowed to insert their incompetent minds and bodies into men's organizations, then the men would be allowed to insert something much more often!  And poor, foolish men agreed with this devil's bargain.

But the initial outcome was very good for young men!  They got unlimited amounts of free sex, at least on college campuses and among some ethnic groups.  Given that men are motivated by nothing but pussy, however, this meant that young men no longer wanted to work hard or to invent things or to create art.  Why bother when you can have all the sex you want?  Indeed, why bother getting married?

Let's ignore that question and just point out that the preposterous view that women aren't legally required to offer sex on demand inside that long-term prostitution arrangement: marriage, means that after the wonderful hedonistic era of unbridled sex young men still get married and enter the arid desert of no sex.  This desert is inhabited by aging and ugly wives who are mostly frigid.  Despite the aging men still having lots of money, they cannot force their wives to provide that sex they are still paying for.

Life is very hard for young men.  They get too much sex too early and none at all later in life.  The early plentiful sex dulls all their incentives to work or get an education.  Women will take over men's organizations, but because women are not creative, don't work hard or have any real ambitions, the society will suffer.  Hapless, uneducated men will spend their lives playing computer games while the incompetent and rather lazy women will run the organizations that the men built.

I swear I tried to keep that short and sweet!  It's still not quite the whole summary, and I haven't even gotten to really talking about the two main pillars in this Magnum Opus:  The idea of "sexual economics" and the view of women throughout the history as uncreative, unintelligent and incapable of building organizations.

More on those pillars in the next post.
 *Unclear, because the only way I can see this happening is through a formal exclusion of women from all those organizations, in order to guarantee that women must offer sexual services to survive.  Now remember that this is not MY view of the history but an attempt to understand the theory of these people.  On the other hand, Baumeister has earlier asked such naive questions as why women didn't just get together to  equip a boat and sail off to find new continents and so on.  That he asks such questions suggests a fairly thorough lack of historical study on his part.  With the possible exception of ruling queens, any woman trying to do that would have been forcibly restrained and returned to her husband, father or brother.

**Unclear, again, because the only realistic explanation I see for this is the relaxation of old legal and cultural restraints on the proper sphere of women.  Because Baumeister doesn't believe that women were ever stopped from doing anything they tried to put their tiny minds to the question remains a mystery within the Baumeister-Vohr thesis.

Added later:  I removed some of the nastier language from this post.