Newcastle — A dear friend, who takes her feminism quite seriously, recently pointed me to the book, The End of Men by Hanna Rosin. I was pleased by this recommendation, because it addresses my oft-expressed belief that the male is rapidly being phased out in current society. I see this everywhere. My latest surprise is the fuss in Britain over the right of male primogeniture that is being debated in the House of Lords. I have no doubt that first-born daughters will soon be granted the inheritance of titles. While I may rue the fate of my gender, I accept it as inevitable and probably a good thing. I also believe that the end of humanity is not far off, and if the men go quickly it should extend things a bit for the better half, and that would be a good thing.
My friend further directed me to an on-line debate on the book at the “ideas” website, where four women, two pro, two con, argue the obsolescence of the male, somewhat tediously, for 53 minutes. I patiently listened to the entire episode in spite of my suspicion of bias, given that the participants are all female and admitted feminists. One, Maureen Dowd, has even written a book on the subject Are Men Necessary? What would you guess? Was she pro or con? Right!
The audience is asked to vote on the issue, once on the way in and once on the way out. The first poll revealed an astonishing (to me) plurality of 82 percent against, and only 18 percent in favor of the idea that men are obsolete.
A large part of the argument presented by the panel is based on statistics, a subject I find suspect. So much today is supported by polls relentlessly gathered on every conceivable topic in our age of “information.” Then the results are used, selectively, to support positions. Perhaps I am too pessimistic; let me mention a couple of the debater’s remarks, beginning with the “pro” side.
First, in the modern family, the wife earns more that the husband about forty percent of the time. That’s up from two percent a few decades ago. This might be taken as indicative of diminution of the male role, but I don’t think so. I do feel that it has led to the disintegration of the nuclear family, and that distresses me. Second, women are now receiving sixty percent of the college degrees, and conventional wisdom holds that since the sheepskin is a requirement for success, men are being left behind. Possibly, but I would argue that some of the most successful people, especially the Silicon Valley types, did not finish college. As one panelist noted: “Education is toxic for creativity.” Furthermore, I believe that for the great majority of jobs, a college education is irrelevant, and it should not be a prerequisite for employment. The higher education situation is neither holding men back nor giving women an advantage.
On the “con” side it was pointed out that men have in the past created almost everything. So are they not still necessary? No. Soon everything will be created by robots and 3-D printers. Even doctors (but never lawyers) may vanish. It was pointed out that men control most of the wealth, occupy most leadership positions, and run all the armies. I find the last especially vexing. Is that what we’re good for, killing people? As for those leadership positions, let’s not overlook that parliament recently changed the law so that a female royal baby could succeed to the crown.
The web site encourages comments from listeners. There were 58 of these with the vast majority designating the debate as silly and meaningless. I would concur that as presented by the panelists much of the argument is silly. For example, why point out that the Washington monument is a phallic symbol? Of course, but so what? I would add: “What’s the capitol dome if not a breast?” equally immaterial. One panelist explained that it is relatively common in the insect world for the female to eat the male after mating. True, but is this relevant to the debate? The other predominant sentiment of the commenters was outrage, one assumes expressed mostly by men. I think that smacks of insecurity. Face up to it boys.
I was left with the impression that all four panelists were on the pro side, even if they tried to argue against. They were convincing. In the exit poll the percentage of those supporting male obsolescence rose from 18 to 56 percent!
Why is this happening? My guess is that Chaos has realized that it was a mistake to evolve homo sapiensless from his primordial swamp into the blundering, destructive beast he has become. The world would be better off without him. Species go extinct all the time; why not humans?