Gender Differences

I’ve never found feminism to be very convincing at explaining the world, as I observed it.

So, I was pleased to come across this speech transcript (by Roy F. Baumeister) that seems to give very sensible and enlightening explanations for some of the differences we find between men and women.

The thesis is that these differences arise from dispositions that have evolved from the different roles the genders have played throughout human history. Successful (at propagating) women were more disposed towards maintaining intimate relationships with individuals, and successful men were more disposed towards thriving in more shallow relationships with larger groups. Women performed the vital role of raising children, and men were engaged in developing cultural institutions. These cultural institutions have become more important in modern times (and the source of much wealth, power, and knowledge), and men’s dominance in them explains the inequality that feminists abhor (and explain with silly conspiracy theories). Also, successful women were more conservative, while successful men were more likely to be risk-takers.

I’m probably not doing it justice, so go read it yourself!

HT: Richard Chappell


Ever since Hillary Clinton distanced herself from the word “liberal” in the YouTube debate, bloggers and commentators have been discussing the leftist retreat from “liberal” towards “progressive.”

I think people should be able to call themselves whatever they want (short of intentional fraud), so I don’t really care that much about it.

But, I have always thought that it was interesting that the left has chosen labels that mean the opposite of what they actually stand for. And, it seems like now that they have completely ruined the word “liberal”, they’re moving on to the next one.

I agree that they have some social views that are progress when compared to the worst of conservatives, but their economic views are progressive only in the Marxist sense (“progressing” from capitalism to socialism to communism). I don’t think that moving from individualism towards collectivism is progress. It’s regressive!

I like Don Boudreaux’s take:

Of course, when medieval superstitions, stasis and status eventually gave way to individualism, society did not collapse. It thrived as never before. Great cities were built. The profit motive led entrepreneurs to invent lifesaving medicines, more abundant food supplies, vibrant cultural products available to anyone who wished to partake in them and creature comforts undreamed of by even the wealthiest medieval monarchs.

In short, individualism — and the freedom and free markets that it entails — sparked and sustained progress as never before.

Today’s “Progressives” seek a return to the status and static society in which the few direct and “protect” the many. That, of course, is the
opposite of genuine progress.