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Women-Only Leadership: Would it prevent war?
Hank Pellissier   Feb 15, 2011   Ethical Technology  

“Girl Fight! Girl Fight!” This shrill cry on our primary school playground always stampeded us to the spectacle of young females scratching, kicking, biting, slapping and pulling hair. With luck—we boys hoped—a blouse might get ripped and we’d see a bra.

Girl combat was entertaining, but extremely rare and not dangerous. There were more tears than punches, no blood, and sometimes the skirmish would just halt with weeping girls apologizing to each other. Ick! Girls just aren’t fighters, we’d shrug, as we returned to our violent games.

At my primary school, boys took turns socking each other, hard, just for fun, and every boy knew where he was on the “tough list.” I was #8 on this dominance chart; there were seven lads who knew they could beat me up and I knew it, too—but the rest of the mob I could theoretically handle. The kid who was #9 (Greg H.) challenged me once in an attempt to move up the ladder; I thrashed him but I broke my hand on his jaw so he slipped ahead of me anyway, until I healed.

chest thumping Male politics at my school resembled the violent posturing of a chimpanzee troupe, with constant threats, chest-pounding, and actual injuring of underlings. Might made right; brutal assertion was the pre-eminent virtue. Girls, we noted sneeringly, had their own silly rules, their own pecking order, but their squabbles were usually settled by talking.

In high school, physical competition maintained its priority. Football players gained status colliding with cross-town enemies in gladiatorial arenas. Seductively-clad cheerleaders urged on the warriors and delivered sexual favors to the most ruthless tramplers and tacklers.

This is life, we decided, and history proves it. Strong men in invincible armies extend national boundaries and extract tribute from wimps. Male presidents declare war, male generals send male soldiers to kill and conquer weaklings. Torpedoes, bombs, gun muzzles, tank turrets—phallic weaponry seeks the death of all rivals. Civilization is outlined by male-generated violence.

But what if, just what if… that was all changed?

What if empathetic, chatty, risk-adverse girls were suddenly boss of the playground? What if women ruled the governments, all governments, as Prime Ministers, Presidents, MPs, congresswomen, senators, with absolute commander-in-chief authority?

Love Not War Would war cease? Would violence be abandoned as a dispute settlement tool? Maybe some shrieking and economic purse-hitting but no more killing… just talk? No more suicidal, machismo wipe-you-off-the-face-of-the-earth global annihilation?

Could “women-only” rule (gynocracy) be the salvation of our species?

David Pearce thinks so. The UK transhumanist philosopher—author of “The Hedonistic Imperative”—has devoted his life to ending the suffering of all sentient creatures on the planet. Rather famously, he’s proposed using gene therapy to re-engineer carnivorous animals to be harmless, so that “the lion can lay down with the lamb.”

Pearce’s most recent imaginative, ambitious, and pacifist scheme—sent to me via email on February 9th and casually advertised to his Facebook friends—is to install, in 25 years, in every nation on Earth… only women as political executives and representatives.

In Pearce’s words:

There is one crude and spectacularly effective way to reduce global catastrophic risk. For evolutionary reasons, almost all wars are started and waged by men. Enacting legislation that allowed only women to stand for national public office would probably save hundreds of millions of lives this century—possibly more.

I’d estimate the reduction in global catastrophic risk and existential risk would by its implementation lie at between 50% and 95%—actually closer to the latter percentage figure, but let’s be conservative. Can we imagine an all female executive and legislature authorizing, for example, the design and use of nuclear weapons systems?

Pearce admits his idea will be regarded by many as “absurd” but he insists that, “no proposal with such a spectacular benefit of risk-reduction should be dismissed out of hand.” I agree. The potential results deem it worthy of attention. Let’s examine his plan!

First, let’s scrutinize his initial assumption… is he correct? Would “women-only” global government truly reduce warfare?

I emailed his hypothesis to male and female professionals, to obtain their opinions.

A quick reply came from Dr. Rob Sparrow, bioethicist at Monash University in Australia I thought Sparrow’s feminist credentials—he asserted in 2006 that “maybe we should all be having girls” (due to XX longevity and procreation ability)—would align him with the girl-power plan. I was wrong.

Sparrow’s answer:

...war is a political relationship between states and has nothing to do with the individual psychology of the individuals involved… It’s the political systems (capitalism/state/patriarchy) that drive the actions of those in power rather than the other way around… in order to gain political power, women have to accommodate themselves to the needs of these systems as much as men do…

Huh. But wait! A percentage of this response isn’t logical—one-third, to be precise. Sparrow blames war on capitalism, the state, and the patriarchy, but… if all leaders are women, well, that smashes the patriarchy, doesn’t it?

The next response I got was from Maria Konovaleno, Program Coordinator at the Science for Life Extension Foundation in Moscow, Russia. Naively, I imagined that all women would support Pearce’s notion. Oops! Wrong again!

Here is Konovalenko’s response:

Women make a lot of emotional, spontaneous and irresponsible decisions. In general, of course. I think if women were heads-of-state in all nations on earth, warfare wouldn’t be reduced at all. In fact, it may be even worse.

Hmph! I was surprised to find Pearce’s idea dismissed so readily. Because, frankly, I like it.

I admit that David and I are bigger “manginas” than most men, but still, aren’t the statistics supporting Pearce’s plan unassailable? Men are responsible for 90% of violent crimes; wouldn’t removing them from power guarantee 90% less war? Peace activist groups are also 90% female, and the Top Ten Most Peaceful Nations are strongly correlated with the Top Ten Nations in Women’s Equality.

Why do intelligent observers think Pearce’s computation is mistaken?

Pearce revealed the biological motivation for his plan in a 2009 H+ magazine interview, when he stated:

The genetic source of most human predatory behavior has been identified: the Y chromosome. Competitive alpha male dominance is perhaps the greatest under-lying threat to what we call civilization. Human history to date can attest to the gruesome effects of testosterone-driven male behavior.

Pearce’s portrayal of testosterone as an evil ingredient has been challenged in recent years, but he maintains a deep distrust of the hormone. Recently on Facebook he asked his friends, “Can we reduce global testosterone production to safer levels?” as he referred them to a recent Utrecht and Cambridge study entitled, “Extra testosterone reduces your empathy.” He also describes the monoamine oxidase-A “warrior gene” as “sociopathic”—this allele (that exists in one of three Western men) has been linked with aggression.

Critiquing Pearce further, let’s note that history’s violence isn’t 100% masculine—several XX leaders have used militaristic aggression. Zenobia of Palmyra led her chariots into battles against the Romans. Boudicca of Britain also spear-headed revolts. Joan of Arc was a battlefield heroine. “Bloody” Queen Mary burned 300 Protestants and persecuted the Irish. Catherine the Great waged wars against the Ottoman Empire, Sweden, Lithuania, and the Cossacks. Indira Gandhi ordered the attack and subsequent massacre at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. Margaret Thatcher sent sailors to The Falklands and soldiers to Northern Ireland.

This handful of violent femmes isn’t enough to prove anything, though, and recent years have produced a bevy of “peaceful” women leaders. Cory Aquino of The Philippines, nicknamed the “Saint of People Power,” successfully led a bloodless revolution and narrowly missed a Nobel Peace Prize. Helen Clark, Prime Minister of New Zealand, condemned the 2003 invasion with the explanation that “women resort to jaw-jaw rather than war-war.” President Tarja Halonen of Finland is a leader in peace talks between Israel and Palestine.

Most amazingly, the ghastly 15-year civil war in Liberia that had 200,000 fatalities was resolved through the peaceful efforts of women. In a courageous grassroots movement, women went to market places carrying entreating peace signs, they publicly cajoled men to end violence, they employed the Lysistradra “no peace, no sex” tactic, they organized into influential groups like the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, and finally, they pressured all the warring factions into sitting at a negotiation table and concluding the conflict. Today, Liberia’s president is the popular Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, listed by Newsweek as one of 2010’s ten best leaders in the world.

Women for peace in Liberia

Pearce’s utopian proposal isn’t actually new at all—it’s a rehash of the 1998 debate surrounding Francis Fukuyama’s essay, “Women and the Evolution of World Politics,” published in Foreign Affairs.

Fukuyama opens his article with a chronicle of murderous male chimp behavior; extrapolating forward, he contends that a world governed by females would be more peaceful because men are the biologically violent gender. His article was attacked by a female trio: Barbara Ehrenreich, Katha Pollit, and Jane Jaquette. “Fukuyama gives insufficient weight to the dynamics of the nation-state system,” argued Jaquette. “Wars start not in biology… but in realpolitik.”

Bollocks, I say. I think Pearce is spot-on. I’ve listened extensively to scholars writing off violence, aggression, risk-taking, and competitiveness as “socialization” or “cultural” or “behavioral” issues—this strikes me a glorification of the “soft” sciences: psychology, anthropology, sociology. If species-threatening violence is indeed entrenched in our primitive cells, we ought to respond with biological remedies: either the gene therapy that Pearce recommends in his “Hedonistic Imperative” or by installing individuals in power who don’t carry the genetic disposition to cause global harm.

I’m not saying that men shouldn’t be in politics, but perhaps, in the near future, it would be wise to require all candidates for high office to submit a full disclosure of their DNA.

But hey, I’m just one squishy brain with my personal point of view. If you disagree with me, or agree, or have facts relevant to this article’s headlining question, please leave a comment below.

Hank Pellissier serves as IEET Managing Director and is an IEET Affiliate Scholar.


Not all female leaders in history have been shining examples of peace. Take Elizabeth Báthory, for instance, who helped inspire the modern legend of vampires with her ‘leadership’ and is known by many as the most prolific serial killer in history.

The difference is that men will shoot you in the front…women will shoot you in the back. Either way you’re dead.

Thank you for the thoughtful article 😊
I think Dave is right in the direction, if not the magnitude of likely effect. I’m thinking about “ethics of care” as being potentially useful in making an argument in support of Dave’s claim, but I don’t know if women more often than men hold some variant of the normative ethical theory, or whether such a theory would be less likely to endorse wars.
I am also worried that perhaps women that get up to a high-enough level within politics would be more like men in their approach in the important respect Dave is concerned with.
Either way - I think Dave’s proposal should get more attention from everywhere. Personally, I’d be happy to implement it even without a debate 😊

A load of sexist garbage.

Women who have ruled have on average been more violent than men who ruled, when you compare like for like.

The institution of government is the culprit, and such sexist attempts or racist attempts to blame whites or men for the bloodshed merely serve to distract us from the real perpetrator of violence, and allow that perpetrator to go on with its destructive mission.

Testosterone poisoning is similarly just sexist garbage. This whole thing of “Estrogen Utopia” is just pure misandry.  If someone suggested the opposite, it would be immediately recognized as misogyny.  That this can be given serious consideration is ridiculous, and readily apparent to anyone with the first clue about the structure of government.

All governments, no matter their structure or intent, are founded upon a legalized monopoly of theft and violence.  Put a kind and loving person at the helm of that, and the only thing that can happen is theft and violence.  It doesn’t matter if it is Gandhi or MLK.  They’d end up killers.  The same is true of women.

You can’t put someone in a tank that automatically fires rounds every 10 minutes, and tell them not to damage anything.

And yet, that’s exactly what’s suggested by this article.

Never mind that even a person with the “serial killer gene” and a brain structure of a “serial killer” won’t actually kill anyone unless he is traumatically abused as a child.  That’s right, even a person with alleged genetic and neural structures that are found in serial killers will not become a killer unless ALSO exposed to traumatic events.  This pretty much proves that humans are a non-violent species by nature, and that only hideous “nurture” can produce a violent adult.

And who does the majority of child abuse?


So much for the “basic goodness” of women.

The good news is if we can stop adult women from abusing their daughters, we can probably stop most of the war.

So look for the source where it really exists, in Adverse Childhood Experiences:

Read Lloyd deMause’s “The Origins of War in Child Abuse” on the Institute for Psychohistory’s web site:

Read “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” by Wilhelm Reich.

Utopia will not arrive by putting anyone in charge, but by making everyone sovereign, and ending the abuse of children.

The path to peace lies in the relinquishment of the monopoly of theft and violence, and the only way to achieve that is to smash the state and achieve anarchism.

Women will be no better than men, and a gynocracy/matriarchy will be every bit as bloody and destructive as a pure phallocracy/patriarchy would be, possibly more so, if the evidence from child abuse is any indication (and I think it is).  History has shown this to be true.

Only a fool would be distracted by this misandrist hate speech.

“smash the state”

How peaceful of you, sarver. BTW, this a progressive blog—not a rightwing anarchist one.
And don’t write back that you aren’t rightwing, no one falls for that sort of thing anymore.
You are not Gene Debs.

Evidence for the prevalence of women as child abusers?

The reason some women are violent is because they live in a Man’s world, sarver.
I’ve seen it countless times: a guy reads anarchist philosophers and it’s as if he is DISCOVERING the deepest mysteries of the world or something. He has Found Himself; he has found the In Thing of all In Things; the cosmos has revealed to him what must be done:
the state must be smashed! Amen.
You write in a familiar militant manner, as if from a template; an anarchist exclaims ‘Smash the State’; a Communist exclaims ‘Smash Racism’...
smash smash smash.

The examples only prove that women don’t start aggressive wars, but fight long, hard and dirty if provoked. Both Mary and Elizabeth Tudor were tolerant initially and only reacted to aggression (Wyatt’s rebellion, the release of Catholics from allegiance). Catherine the Great reacted to Cossack rebellion; her aggressive wars of conquest seem all prompted by Potemkin, possibly her secret husband. Margaret Thatcher reacted to Argentinian invasion of the Falklands - and the troops were in Ulster long before she was PM. Boudicca reacted to rape and financial oppression.
Domestic experience suggests that women are slow to fight and ruthless to win.

@ e.b. sarver—you did bring up an interesting point that I did not know.  According to the website below:
mothers are the more common perpetrators of child abuse.
the percentage is approximately 40% mothers, 19% fathers, and the remainder is either “both” or another relative.
However, it seems possible to me that mothers might be perpetrating twice as much abuse because they are doing twice s much parenting, because fathers are either totally absent or not involved
Also, if you look at the website below, there’s evidence that men are overwhelmingly the instigators in domestic violence, and violence, as we know, begets more violence.

Not only do women do more parenting than men, they are abused by their husbands more tnan vice versa, so it is not at all a stretch to theorize some women transfer aggression to their children as a ‘safety valve’. Funny how many of these guys discuss scientific matters in graduate terms, but discuss social matters in grammar school terms.
And “Smash the state”? how corny.
Quick, let’s man the barricades in Barcelona. No Pasaran!

People who say “men make war” are the same ones who find it sexist to say men make science, medicine, etc., as women were restricted from participating and still did contribute in many ways.  The same is true of war.  Women leaders supported and declared wars, and women in the general population have supported wars at almost the same rate men have. E.g., 76% of women and 86% of men supported the U.S. military attack in Kuwait and Iraq during the Gulf War.

In his report, “War and Gender,” University of Massachusetts political scientist Joshua Goldstein documents how women have actively encouraged military adventurism, both in modern and indigenous societies, and that in the face of imminent conflict, women goad their men into combat.  For example:

- During the American Revolutionary War, women were known to withhold sexual favors from reluctant fighters.

- During the American Civil War, Southern belles refused to accept suitors who did not take up arms.

- In World War I, British women organized the White Feather campaign in which they gave a white feather to men who refused to fight, as a sign of their unmanliness.

- Among the Bedouin, frenzied Rwala women bare their breasts and urge their men to war.

- Before the 1973 coup in Chile, women threw corn at soldiers to taunt them as “chickens.”

- During the era of the Soviet Gulag, female interrogators were just as ruthless as their male counterparts in extracting confessions.

- In the Rwanda genocide, Hutu women played a major role in killing Tutsi men:

“Women of every social category took part in the killings. … Some women killed with their own hands. … Women and girls in their teens joined the crowds that surrounded churches, hospitals and other places of refuge. Wielding machetes and nail-studded clubs, they excelled as “cheerleaders” of the genocide, ululating the killers into action.”  African Rights report, Rwanda – Not So Innocent: When Women Become Killers, August 1995.)

I think women are less physically violent to peers, however I’m not sure how relevant that is to war, since modern war leaders don’t personally go to battle.

I also think that child abuse, while real and a problem, is not that relevant to war.  Psychohistory as far as I could find in Wikipedia appears to consist of a bunch of untested assertions.  The basic thesis seems to be that if we raised children with perfect gentleness moral evil would cease.  There is no talk about how we, as imperfect parents, can actually do this.

Also, I’ve known adults who were abused as children and while they were damaged they were not serial killers.  We do need to know about how and why some people are able to heal their wounds and others are not.  Finally equating killing for personal gratification, as serial killers do, with socially sanctioned killing in war doesn’t work for me.  The military does want killers, but not type who’d kill the general’s secretary.

@Marc re “People who say “men make war” are the same ones who find it sexist to say men make science

This is a very acute observation.

I really wish we could stop with this PC gender crap.

@ Tom McIntyre - thanks for your very interesting historical information - please keep us informed on this thread if you have more info on the military history of women leaders.
@ Marc A - Thanks for your information too, about women’s support of war and how they have often urged men to be warlike.  That breast-baring among the Rwala is interesting - Queen Zenobia of Palmyra also rode into battle bare-breasted.
@ Guilio - thanks for your comments.  I wonder, there is the big scandal regarding Berlusconi right now, do you have any opinions on that?

As this site often looks at gender flexibility and projecting identity past gender limitations, why do we hang up on it anytime we can blame men somehow?  I don’t think I understand the hatred towards strength, male or female.  Assertiveness and even some aggression can be warranted depending on a situation.  To elevate women’s violence as “reactionary” being somehow better conveys a reactive is better than proactive stance.  Most people do not want reactionary leadership, they want people with foresight to move their governance along rather than only responding to outside forces.

Lets stop looking at labels so much and stop making genes and genetalia the focus of our structure, cinversations and world.  Instead, lets look at best governance (or lack thereof, in some cases) and address how it works and how to best facilitate it becoming commonly utilized.

Re the “big scandal regarding Berlusconi right now”, I think our country has much more serious problems at this moment, and this smoke in the eye takes attention away from the real problems (which is why it was created, of course).

The scandal, based on allegations which may or may not be true, has evidently been mounted by the opposition to grab power, after which they will do the same or worse. As a citizen, what I ask to politicians is a good administration, and I could not care less about their private life provided they don’t harm others.

@ postfuturist - it is a slogan. I propose smashing the state using the methods of Gandhi and MLK.  Your linguistic nitpicks and unsupported claims that “women are only violent because it is a man’s world” are not only more childish than my use of a slogan, but a transparent attempt to use logical fallacy to divert from the true issues.  Either get something to back up your fallacies, or I’m done with you.  The gender war is an attempt by the oligarchs to divide and conquer us, and fools like you buy right into it.  Organize against the true perpetrators of violence: child abuse and The State.

@ postfuturist & Hank - As for men and domestic violence, those statistics (the ones that claim 90% is done by men) are cooked by feminists.  A huge number of men are abused.  Reams of statistics exist to prove this, but only a small fraction of the web sites report them, as the cooked feminist studies “prove” the alleged moral superiority of women, a common misandrist meme in our culture.  Just like “women are dumber than men” is a common misogynist meme in our culture “proven” by the cooked studies that show more men inventors or novelists or whatever else.  Read more here:  And here:

@ Matt - visit my links.  Evidence already posted.

@ Greycat - the serial killer thing is just one example, they have found the same in prison populations. Something like 95% of the people in prison have an ACE score of 4 or higher.  See:

@ Mark - THANK YOU

 An all-female political class is an appallingly crude and discriminatory way to reduce global catastrophic and existential risks. But the proposal has nothing to do with political correctness. Rather the question is whether an all-female legislature and executive would make any statistically significant difference to the likelihood of use of weapons of mass destruction this century.

For example, would an all-female political class be any less likely to fund, develop and authorise the use of nuclear weapons systems as the existing male-dominated power elite? 

If critics above are correct, then no statistically significant difference can be expected. Maybe so: I’d just urge rigorous evaluation of the proposal on its technical merits rather than a knee-jerk response.

Recall that among our close relatives, chimpanzees, war-like behaviour towards neighbouring tribes is practised entirely by males - though females can individually can be individually just as vicious. Historical and ethnographic evidence supplemented by evolutionary psychology confirms that little has changed in the genus Homo over the past few million years beyond absolute killing capacity: “amazons” are not unknown but rare.

Yet haven’t civilised 21st century humans transcended our primitive sex-typical biology? Surely we can relegate traditional gender stereotypes to history? 
Giulio, I hope you’ll forgive my doubt.

Looking at the ACE questionaire, only three items relate to abuse as opposed to neglect or general problems in the household.  An unemployed coke addict who never hit or fondled his children, but couldn’t feed them all the time, would still have children with a fairly high score.  Also you need to look at the population of people with high ACE scores and see how many are criminals compared to a population of people with lower scores to see the magnitude of the effect.

Finally you need to take into account physical as opposed psychological effects of abuse and neglect on criminality, though they might mix together in confusing ways.  Hypothetically there could be people with certain genes whose ability to control themselves as adults is lessened by exposure to high levels of cortisol as children. You could see how this could result in bad behavior being passed down through multiple generations without such genes actually making bad behavior inevitable.  However, bad behavior might occur in such people if their parents had cancer but didn’t abuse them.

I’m not saying child abuse isn’t bad.  In fact, I believe from watching abused adults that it reduces empathy.  I’m just saying that it may not be the master key to evil and violence.

I agree child abuse is bad

Dear Hank—As much as I’d love to agree with your well-written and flattering assessment, female-led organizations are seldom like that. 😊 I worked in them for years, and the dysfunction was incredible (for a number of reasons, but including a lot of indirect aggression from women to other women). It probably all depends on the enlightenment level of the individuals at the top, whether male or female. See this book:

Hi Hank, Great article!
I would tend to agree with Lynn’s comments above. With what I have seen in the workplace, if there is nastiness going on it is generally the women, and quite often to each other.

@ Hank

I don’t support either a patriarchy or a gynocracy, since I’m a pure centrist.

But please allow me to introduce you to your polar opposite, a person who is convinced that the problems of the world could all be solved if women would just go back to being submissive playtoys and let the men get on with ruling the world:

I’ve addressed this person before, and more or less wasted my time, but I view him as a massive danger to the world because too many people listen to him. He’s even managed to get Foresight Institute to link to his blog, sending who knows how many people off to read his poison rants about women’s “need” to be dominated and subjugated and that their only value is in making babies.

Know your enemy. At the very least, he’ll let you know exactly what you are fighting.

@Bob - thanks, bro!  It is nice to hear from a manager who has experience working with both genders, and to get some information like that.  My experience has been the opposite - I have quit several jobs because the male bosses were abusive, but women employers I’ve consistently gotten along with.  Right now at my main job I have 3 editors who are all quite kind and pleasant to take direction from.  But I’d need to see some statistics on this, and even then, is back-biting at work translate into nuclear war?  not really…
@Valkyrie - thanks for letting me know, and everyone else who reads that, about that particular person.  I will be sure to check it out.  I think I know who it is already and perhaps there’s another article about him?

@ Bob & Lynn
Yes, I have seen the same thing.  Both men and women can be horrible bosses in the corporate world.  Look at Hewlett Packard for a great example. A particularly bad woman took control as CEO and destroyed that company from within, no different than many men CEOs. I have watched men in middle management do all sorts of stupid things to destroy companies, from using those below them as stepping stones for their careers to using the whip to get results.  Similarly, I have watched women in middle management use claims of sexism or harassment to rid themselves of any masculine competition that threatened their leadership. It depends on the ethics of the people themselves as individuals way more than it does on their sex.  And their actions as individuals tend to be bad when you have a mix of bad genetics and bad environment…usually just one of the two doesn’t produce a person with flawed ethics.  It most often takes both bad nature AND bad nurture to produce evil.

I think women would certainly start fewer wars, assuming the women are educated and experienced and ready for leadership (we are talking electable women).  In truth, there may be as many Sarah Palins, who would want to prove they are as macho as men, as there are sane women who would actually run for the job, but in general women think before they act, even when they are part of a government.  Would a woman have started the war in Iraq?  Vietnam?  I don’t think so.  Would a woman have invaded Afganistan? Probably, and the same for WWII.  But where there is a serious question whether a war is necessary, I think female leaders would hesitate longer than some men (Regean in Grenada?).  It is the use of force as bullies that would diminish, I would posit.

@David: you seem persuaded that an all-female legislature and executive would be less likely to fund, develop and authorise the use of nuclear weapons systems as the existing male-dominated power elite.

I don’t think this is true. But let’s pretend it is.

Then I would certainly be much more likely to vote for female political officers myself, and to actively campaign for them.

But I would never support a mandatory all-female government any more than a mandatory all-male government, or a mandatory all-white government. This would stand against all equality and non-discrimination principles that I value.

Perhaps we are not ready yet to relegate traditional gender stereotypes to history. But this does not mean that we should not tru.

Giulio, we both agree that humanity faces immense global catastrophic and existential risks this century.
Likewise, we both agree that any form of discrimination, especially instutionalised discrimination,  is abhorrent to our principles.

But the stakes are so high here that I don’t think the injurious effects of discrimination remotely outweigh the benefits. Yes, quantification of the reduced risk is hard. But I predict any careful risk-benefit analysis of legislating an all-female executive and legislature would conclude that our survival prospects would be improved.

In practice, humanity probably isn’t hard-headed or rational enough to draw the relevant policy conclusions. I predict last century’s toll of 100 million deaths in war will be surpassed in the 21st century - quite possibly by an order of magnitude. Like last century’s wars, the instigators will most probably be male.

One statement he made: “the Top Ten Most Peaceful Nations are strongly correlated with the Top Ten Nations in Women’s Equality” is true, not because more women are in control, but because all people are considered equal. Societies where citizens are taught to consider everyone equal tend to extend these beliefs beyond their borders. This view means that they are more likely to see a potential enemy as an equal rather than a lesser being who they would have no qualms about crushing. Making women-only positions removes a large portion of this equality and makes 50% of your population second class citizens.

Well said David.

“I worked in them for years, and the dysfunction was incredible (for a number of reasons, but including a lot of indirect aggression from women to other women).”

But that’s like saying blacks in the Jim Crow South were dysfunctional. Women are often intimidated by men; if a woman walks in an inner city at night alone she is probably going to be intimidated unless she has a concealed weapon—and even then she might not feel safe. Intimidation is the key word; someone can always be intimidated into doing what someone with more pull wants them to do.

“Women leaders supported and declared wars, and women in the general population have supported wars at almost the same rate men have.”

Of course many women support war, it is a Man’s world, women supporting war is based on prisoner’s dilemma; in a Man’s world a woman is a prisoner of a man’s interest in war, her dilemma is: should she support war, or should she buck the trend towards war and be considered ungrateful by jingoistic men for not being “patriotic” (nationalistic). Sure it is more complicated, however neglecting to mention the above is a different sort of PC, a PC that does not reckon with how men not only dominate women, but dominate the very way they think.
Dominate a person, you dominate to some extent the way they think.


It would be interesting to see your addressing his “solutions”  I have already done a complete line by line break down of his original “Misandry bubble” article from a year ago here:

I gave him the courtesy of going through his entire article, and pointing out his biases, mistakes, misinformation, and misogyny. His response?  “You’re a mangina wanna be tranny.”

The “defense” G.K. uses to any attempt to refute his views is “You are suffering a programmed feminist pavlovian response” that allows for no possibility of debate.

I may not agree that a gynocracy is a “best solution” but there is a vast difference between seeking equality, even if said equality is somewhat lopsided in my opinion, and seeking an outright war of domination and subjugation.

To be honest Hank, I’d love to see your refutation of his views on women, considering that I consider you a champion of women’s rights that I respect highly in that regard. We may not see entirely eye to eye, but we are both seeking a better future, and greater equality for all, and not slavery for women so that some “alpha” male egos can feel superior.

@Valkyrie - thanks so much for letting everyone know about this guy—I took a look at his website and I thought he was thoroughly ridiculous. 

I am still trying to figure out how transhumanists correlate, or don’t correlate, with feminism.  When I wrote the first essay, “Feminism’s Social Side Effects” - I thought there’d be a we-all-agree-with-that response to it, a “why are you preaching to the choir?” attitude.  Instead,  as you, know, there seems to be a strong, uh… well… different attitude, from many, that I didn’t expect. 

I chose to write about women’s equality because it sometimes seems like transhumanists think they are the only group that is creating the future, and I wanted to point out that there’s a rise in female empowerment that will have its own impact.  But back to this guy—ick!  and his site is simply called “The Futurist.”  Well, I think outside of the small little world that futurism, and transhumanism actually is, he would be regarded as just a mean small-minded nut who has serious relationship problems.  If he has any influence on Futurists, or TransHumanists, it is a serious detriment to those groups.

I like ieet because its mission is to carry progressive ideas into the future—hooray for that!  this “Futurist” that you alerted me too… will hopefully end up, as they say “in the dustbin of history.”

thanks again!

Thank you for pointing out that gender does matter, and that men and women are different after all. I was beginning to have my doubts.

I’m not sold on the idea that some women act violently or aggressively, such as female heads of state waging war or executing political enemies or committing simple murder for revenge, because they act in a man’s world.

If you put only women in control of politics and business you will still have the allure of power, glory, and money for their own sakes. As far as I can tell, women like these things as much as men, and not because it’s a man’s world. And as far as I can tell, women are not more virtuous than men, more altruistic, more willing to sacrifice their profits in business to be compassionate to their competitors. Indeed, women protect what’s theirs quite well.

When women have to compete in an election, or to get a promotion, or to make their company grow through gaining market share from another woman’s company, there will be plenty of determination, frustration, anger, and good ol’ hatred going on, too. And I would be very surprised if fair play and hand holding don’t go right out the window.

Take men out of the picture and perhaps there will be fewer murders altogether.  But there may be a lot more “soft murder” - subtle ways of eliminating an opponent, such as ridicule and things of that sort.

If men are prone to violence, that tendency can also be sublimated to positive ends.  And that tendency channeled positively has played a large role in preventing civilization from caving in to barbarism. If a maniac is on the lose, or if an enemy is attacking our innocent citizens, do we want to sit down and dialog with her or him, or do we want to be prepared to use violence if necessary to defend the innocent? Men are really good at the latter even if they could be better at channeling their inclinations toward it.  And if one says, women can use violence, too, when it is needed as well as men, well, then, maybe a female dominated society would be no better than what we have now.

Sorry, I don’t think the female utopia reflects a sound understanding of human nature.  It seems to romanticize women’s qualities and overblow men’s flaws and doesn’t account for how men and women complement each other through the very differences the author perceives.

@ Mario - thanks for your comments. I am indeed interested in how men and women differ in terms of hormonal chemistry, neurology, genetics and other biological ways, and how this impacts their point of view and behavior. 

Talking about “human nature” and “men’s flaws” and “women’s qualities” doesn’t mean anything unless we’re referring to results of actual studies that are of real, agreed-upon value.  Most of the conversation on this thread - and I am guilty of this as well - is just personal opinions based on our individual narrow views of the world. 

I think that David Pearce’s observation that male primates have evolutionarily developed a propensity for organized warfare, and that females have not, has real value.  This has apparently been the case for millions of years, and is evident in present-day chimps.  I would love to see that topic discussed more,

Most of our discussion, talking about if female co-workers we’ve seen are power-hungry or not, etc etc, and if women are as individually violent as men, etc etc is not very scientific, or relevant to the point I was trying to make in this article.

I think David is on the right track, in examining the chemical impact of the hormones and genetics we are blessed and afflicted with. He is seeking to improve humanity, by promoting peace and reducing violence, by altering our biochemistry, and I think that is an intelligent path.

“I took a look at his website and I thought he was thoroughly ridiculous.”

He might be a provocateur, but it is probably worse—he really does believe what he writes. What I disagree with is holding women in any way culpable for war, such is loopy thinking, as if someone were to write, “Southern antebellum blacks were unruly, thus they contributed to slavery”.
Even if a woman is gung ho about war and owns “defense” stocks in the millions, it is usually social conditioning—you can’t hold a woman (or a child) culpable for warfare which has occured for millions of years before she was born. Overly aggressive (PC for violent) men are the rule; such women are the exception.


Yes. I am a strong supporter of absolute gender neutrality, but not for denying that men and women are different. Neither is superior to the other, and both are necessary for society. In the future when male or female is a matter of choice, I think we will finally end this ridiculous “which is better” mentality and simply realize that people are people.

Clearly there are too many variables to say that a women-only leadership would prevent war. The question is whether a women-only leadership would lead to a statistically significant reduction in the risk of war. The latter claim is credible. So we need to weigh the costs of women-only leadership -  most notably a crude, institutionalised discrimination that most of us would find abhorrent - against the potential benefits.

Many transhumanists consider global catastrophic and existential risks the gravest challenge we face this century:
If so, how large would a statistically significant reduction in risk need to be in order to make the price worth paying?

Even with a mandatory women-only government, allowing men to vote will be dangerous: they would vote for aggressive risk-taking women, thus voiding the benefits of a women-only government.

Therefore, it will be regretfully necessary to remove voting rights from men.

But violent men may resent this just and aggressively demand that their voting rights be restored, which may cause social unrest.

Therefore, it will be sadly necessary to confine the most violent men, identified by means of mandatory genetic scans, and eventually all men, to detention camps.

But violent men with a mistaken, socially dangerous, hormone-induced drive for liberty, may try to escape from detention camps.

A final solution based on the physical elimination of the most aggressive men, and eventually all men, will unfortunately become the only viable option for a just and peaceful world.

@ Valkyrie - I read your blogspot dissection of the “Futurist’s” essay and you did a wonderful job! 
My IEET article entitled “Feminism’s Social Side Effects” adds a bit of info to what you were saying, as well.
I think (I hope) he can just be ignored
Thanks immensely!  and really, you and I 90-95% agree, not much dispute.

@ Guilio - I think you have presented a valuable and plausible scenario and I am curious to see how David responds to it.

Of course, I think we all know that David is in favor of genetic therapy to reduce violence, even in carnivorous animals.  So genetic therapy could be used instead of the “final solution” that you mention.

The question then becomes partly ethical - is using genetic therapy to eliminate social traits, even undesirable ones, ethical?

David’s entire proposal, however, is not about advancing ethical concerns.  It is about surviving as a species.  So that presents another question, would we want to survive as a species, if it could only be done by establishing an “unethical” society?  would the gain be worth the sacrifice?

Of course, my last comment is a sad joke meant to remind everyone of the end results of discrimination.

This discussion reminds me of a discussion on FB of a few months ago, where a “new atheist” fascist ended up advocating mandatory mental therapy for all believers.

I am a left libertarian free thinker who abhors all kinds of authoritarian coercive policies, regardless of their provenience and declared color, and these episodes make me really sad.

I wish to urge all my left technoprogressive friends to remember that even good ideas have slippery slopes to fascist policies.

@Giulio - are you being ironic in your use of “final solution”? I certainly hope so.  It’s so hard to tell on IEET who’s speaking tongue-in-cheek and who’s not.  Either way, you appear to be correct, and it is ironic that achieving a “just and peaceful world” would require first the tyrannical subjugation and then eventual “final solution”—nice choice of 70-year old term—against half the population.

@Hank - we can know how people are by experiencing them, observing them, and looking at history. Studies are easily designed and data manipulated to support a previously determined conclusion. Science is not above dishonesty and error.  And if men are seen as the problem, you could easily also make the claim that Moslems are the problem in today’s world.  And if you say, “Islam is really a religion of peace and most Moslems are not violent and the problem is extremists,” ok, I’ll buy that, but you also have to admit that the vast majority of men are peaceful, just, decent, tolerant, and seldom if ever resort to violence, and the problem men are merely extremists.  So the problem and its solution as you propose it is entirely bogus. Or, you’ll have to include in your solution a specific elimination of Islam—not just religion in general but Islam in particular—because plenty of those who turn themselves into weapons are also women in the name of Islam, and they would continue to do that if you eliminate men but not Islam.  I’m not advocating anything by saying this, I’m just trying to apply your logic consistently.

I find the sanctification of men and demonization of women in the “Futurist’s” essay disgusting.

And I find the sanctification of women and demonization of men in this article equally disgusting.

Equality means equality. It should be simple to understand.

These days talking of “men’s flaws” and “women’s qualities” is permitted, while the reverse is forbidden.

But I still consider PC BS and unPC BS as equally BS.

I am against mandatory genetic therapy to reduce violence, except in really exceptional cases (eg extremely violent rapists and criminals).

However, I would not object to voluntary genetic therapy to reduce violence, and I would not object to recommending to vote only for political candidates (of both genders) who have chosen therapy to reduce violence.

@Giulio – You are right in your assessment of this article, and it is ironic that achieving a “just and peaceful world” would require first the tyrannical subjugation and then eventual violent “final solution” against half the population.

@Hank – You are basically advocating a system of peace by violent elimination of contrary voices, rather than by building consensus upon reasonable standards of behavior that do not target or eliminate any particular group as unfit to live up to those standards.  The former is totalitarianism, the latter is ethics. Totalitarianism is the failure of ethics and a triumph of violence and injustice.  Ethics is the triumph of human beings of all kinds living and acting rightly.  Ethics cannot advocate totalitarianism without ceasing to be ethics. Consequentialism – justifying the means because of the end – ultimately inclines toward totalitarianism and therefore fails as an ethical system. “Isn’t a just a peaceful world worth getting rid of [name a class of people]?”  No. It is not worth it.  It is never worth it. You may skirt the issue by saying you’d let living men die naturally, but advocate not replacing them, but it amounts to the same thing and you cannot impose it without injustice.

Also, we can know how people are by experiencing them, observing them, and looking at history. Studies are easily designed and data manipulated to support a previously determined conclusion. Science is not above dishonesty and error.  People act for reasons other than biology. The vast majority of men are peaceful, just, decent, tolerant, and seldom if ever resort to violence, and the problem men are merely extremists. And that means men in general are capable of acting ethically. So the problem, it’s “detection” by some “scientists,” and its solution as you propose it is entirely bogus. The “violent man” is a straw man to justify your plan.

The following is evidence the Futurist is a Tea Party wingnut:

“We can get the urinals of 10,000 to 60,000 high-traffic men’s rooms flyered. Which could make over 1 million men see the flyers. Which could plant a seed in the minds of hundreds of thousands of them.”

Soon he will be pasting his photo on toilet seats.

@ Mario, Giulio - for the record, I am just a reporter who believes that David Pearce’s idea is interesting, has merit and is worth publicly discussing, but I am not yet a 100% committed advocate of his plan. 

I stated my opinion in the 3rd-to-the-last sentence of my article when I said “perhaps, in the near future, it would be wise to require all candidates for high office to submit a full disclosure of their DNA.”

In the sidebar I voted for the choice that read: “A better solution: employ genetic engineering to imbue all humans with peaceful qualities.”

this puts me in agreement with Guilio, who says above,  “I would not object to recommending to vote only for political candidates (of both genders) who have chosen therapy to reduce violence.”

I think David’s POV is important because it is crucial to pick leaders who do not embark upon catastrophic war, and it’s valuable to look at all the measures that seek to ensure this.  That aside, male leaders have proven to be violent, but female leaders? if it can be proven that they’d be less destructive, David’s proposal has significant value.

I am nowhere near as “libertarian” as Giulio, though, and I am not as opposed as he is to what he calls “authoritarian coercive policies” if those policies deliver benefits for all humanity, like survival.

IEET has posted a video by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. In it she notes that women are not represented proportionately in leadership roles because (among other things) they refrain from putting themselves forward, they value being liked as well as recognized, they are more likely to attribute their accomplishments to having recieved others and they seek balance in their lives. IMHO, these are also characteristics that help reduce conflict and violence. They form a collaborative position (non-egoic) as opposed to an individualistic one (egoic).
The desire to be right, making others wrong by intentionally misunderstanding or misrepresenting their point of view, and failure to recognize that our achievements almost always are a result of standing on the shoulders (or in some cases, backs) of others are egotistic and harmful to others.
Spirituality *should* help us focus on interconnection, appropriate humility and opting for the non-egoic. The more we empathize with “the other”, the less likely we are to resort to violent solutions. Compassionate leaders (of any and all genders) are needed.

I don’t know, Hank…

Proportionalism - the degree of good attained can outweighs the evil necessary to attain it - is as bad as consequentialism and for the same reasons. You ultimately advocate - or are at least willing to consider - unjust violence in the name of eliminating unjust violence. It’s not only ironic, it undermines the credibility of the plan. And that doesn’t seem better than what we have now.

And it fails to consider that injustice, and the subsequent strife that occurs in the wake of and in fighting against injustice, will not be eliminated by eliminating or oppressing men. The latter only helps limit but does not necessarily eliminate a particular kind of response to injustice (violence). It does not eliminate injustice itself. Indeed, it perpetuates it. And insofar as it perpetuates injustice, it perpetuates the likelihood that someone will resort to violence.  Someone once said, “If you want peace, work for justice.”

And, the survival of the race is not an urgent matter at the moment.  We are not in any way on the edge of extinction. Indeed, many people feel there are too many people. If it gets to the point that the human race is facing extinction for whatever reason, there will probably be very few technicians engaging in making kaguyas and manufacturing new humans from merging two skin cells or whatever, so the solution to imminent extinction will probably not include eliminating men.

Speaking of irony, the technological modification of human beings means the destruction of the human race and its replacement by something else, not its survival. Funny how one inclines to saving the race by destroying it.

@ Mario—I disagree with much of what you’re saying.  For example, I don’t think that what David has suggested - the exclusion of men from leadership - I don’t see that being as “violent” as the extermination of humanity, but you seem to believe they are proportionally equal? 

I also regard “extinction” as indeed a possibility, if not globally, at least in certain locales.  For example, it is apparent now that Iraq would have probably had its own revolution, without the US interfering.  But we’ll never know, because Bush went in and got tens of thousands of people killed.  Those people are now extinct due to violent leadership.

I have some hard-earned humility regarding this topic, because I know that I would be a wretched state leader, I don’t have the emotional capacity to handle the conflict and stress.  I was the leader of two non-profits, and I was embarrassingly poor at it.  When faced with confrontation, I exploded in anger, frequently.  I am not saying that my anger was “male” but I believe it is biological, and people with savage tempers like me should not be in control of the lives of others. 

I think you and I are at an impasse, but thanks for your contribution to the discussion.

There is a robust and well-established correlation between testosterone levels and a predisposition to competitiveness, aggression, crimes of violence, increased dominance behaviour, reduced fear, empathy deficits, and risk-taking. For evolutionary reasons, making war comes naturally to male human primates. So the question arises. Are these desirable traits in our current political leadership? In an era of weapons of mass destruction, is it prudent as now to elect a high-testosterone, male-dominated power elite?

I think we are sleepwalking towards the abyss.

A critic will point out that the relationship between these traits and testosterone function is purely statistical. Neuroscientists disagree. But perhaps compare ethyl alcohol levels in drivers and drink-drive legislation. There is a robust and well-established correlation between blood levels of ethyl alcohol and car accidents. A crude and discriminatory cut-off point has saved thousands of lives. Disqualifying over-the-limit drivers has prevented untold suffering. The difference in a national political context is that hundreds of millions of lives, perhaps billions of lives, are at stake this century. Over-the-limit drivers “merely” kill thousands. How serious are we about reducing global catastrophic and existential risk if even a modest level of risk-reduction may be anticipated?

A critic will respond by citing examples of bellicose women in politics. Doesn’t a Margaret Thatcher or Sarah Palin refute the case for an all-female legislature and executive? But actually these examples are instructive in a different sense. To have any hope of advancing in politics, a woman must currently show she is harder and “tougher” than her male counterparts - in effect, to demonstrate she atypically possesses those high-testosterone “male” traits that put us in such peril in the first place. A switch to an all-female political class wouldn’t involve electing a bunch of “amazons”. Instead the transition would involve a cultural-political sea change.

Anyhow, all I’d argue is that the proposal should be seriously studied - and then rejected if the cost-benefit analysis is unfavourable. I confess I’m deeply pessimistic about our prospects of avoiding nuclear war this century. Needless to say, both the weapon designers and the instigators of the conflict on both sides are likely - overwhelmingly likely - to be high-testosterone males.

Simplistic biological reductionism? Yes. But we’re kidding ourselves if we think we’ve transcended our evolutionary heritage.

Thanks, David—for presenting your POV so persuasively. Great comparison with drunk drivers, and a nice refutation of the Margaret Thatcher/Sarah Palin argument.  I hope that the “cultural-political sea change” you desire arrives in time…

In my article, the success of Liberian women in ending their male compatriot’s long civil war was inspiring to me.  I’d love to see this phenomenon occur on a planetary scale.

Please understand that I’m just speaking matter-of-factly here. There is no animosity or anger felt.  I disagree with you, but I’m actually having a blast. I just want to be clear about that.

The understanding of the problem, particularly the nature of the anger response in humans generally and in males in particular, seems simplistic and incomplete.  The proposed “solution,” although based on the information presented, would thus be inherently flawed and ordered to fixing something that isn’t really the problem.

The comparison to drunk driving seems imperfect. One difference is that at a certain point, the effects of alcohol such as unconsciousness are insurmountable by conscious effort, whereas there are no studies to show that testosterone forces people to be violent. A high testosterone level may make it hard for a man to control himself, but not impossible except perhaps in rare cases. Violence then becomes a matter of character and ethics and not of biology.

There are other kinds of violence besides physical. There is emotional and psychological. My wife was angry with a friend of hers.  The last thing she wanted to do was physically harm her. But she was very creative with the ways she could get back at her through the things she could say next time around. It wasn’t punching, but it was violent nonetheless. And it would plague a female-controlled society.

@Hank re “I voted for the choice that read: “A better solution: employ genetic engineering to imbue all humans with peaceful qualities.” - I am in favor of having this option, but I am against forcing it on everyone (except in really extreme cases). If the option were available, I would probably vote for politicians who have chosen it.

@Mike re Judith Hand - She is advocating an increase on the % of women in politics. I agree, but again it must be an option and not a rule. As things stand, I often give preference to female politicians (other factors being equal) for the reasons mentioned here - but only if I am free to make the choice. A basic principle of democracy is that all citizens without a criminal record are entitled to run for office, and all citizens are free to choose their favorite candidate. I am not ready to give up democracy.

@David - as usual, you make your point very clear, and I certainly sympathize with your sentiment. But I cannot support authoritarian and coercive policies. Give me good female candidates who support both personal freedom and social fairness, and I will vote for them. As a matter of fact, I very often vote for women, but I want to choose for whom to vote.

I recommend to everyone the novel Crime Zero by Michael Cordy, very relevant to this discussion.

Giulio, whether our elected leadership is all-female or overwhelmingly male as now, we clearly face appalling risks this century. Any proposal for an all-women executive and legislature could only be implemented with the broad consent of thoughtful men and women alike.

I don’t think the proposal should be conceived as authoritarian and coercive - any more than our consent to drink-drive laws is authoritarian and coercive. Rather its enactment should stem - in fact could only stem - from shared recognition of the extra biological risk factor in electing high-testosterone males to national political office.

Feminist-inclined, PoMo-ish sociologist social science sorts have a hard time with this because, you know, gender is just a social construct anyhow. We’re born with blank slates in our heads—it’s all enculturation.

It’s transparently obvious to me that if women really were in charge of the _whole_ thing, warring would be reduced. Intra-female competition is, uh, potent and a very real thing, but it isn’t as scary.

Mario, no one to my knowledge is suggesting that testosterone forces men to be violent or take risks. Many men control their aggressive and risk-taking impulses quite successfully. Likewise, many drivers who flout the drink drives laws take extra care when driving over the limit and don’t crash. But in both cases there is a statistically significant increased risk of a catastrophic outcome. Do we want to take that extra risk?

“Give me good female candidates who support both personal freedom…”

That’s the whole point, “personal freedom” is defined by men: when we discuss something we discuss it as it exists now, not in the hypothetical future. IMO your problem is you are projecting your cognitive abilities on the public when at least 90 percent of the public are dopes, the public knows what it watches on TV and listens to on hate radio—the web hasn’t changed that.
i can’t offer Hank much evidence, however it appears to be self-evident that if women ran the world war would disappear, but talk about hypothetical, men have no intention of releasing their control. Not for so many decades, it is almost pie-in-the-sky.
Men and war go together, it is embesdded in economies; think about DARPA

“Many men control their aggressive and risk-taking impulses quite successfully…”

No, not control, they more or less suppress their aggressive and risk-taking impulses because to the degree that a man is a man he is warlike. When we say a man is a “real” man we mean conventional—today’s—man, not tomorrow’s; and today’s man has existed for millions of years.
Today we have to discuss the man of 2011, not the man of 2061 or 2111.
The man of 2011 wants war, spends trillions on war, and wants to control women. “Man” and “war” are at this time virtually synonymous. One disagreement I have with libertarianism is libertarians overrate free will. The world is run by older men, so, say, an 18 year old guy who enlists in the Service is enlisting to defend the property of older men who own the world and misinform/disinform him.

One last turgid comment for Saturday…
most of you are in academia, no reason you should not be, the outside world is dirty—both literally & figuratively. But if we want more of the dumb public to take futuro-h+ seriously, we have to leave behind 20th century thinking (if only we could utilize a time machine to perhaps ‘go back’ to circa 1968- ‘71).
We can now see how many decades it will take to change; this time is a good one to observe carefully, we can see how the Mideast is STILL changing so slowly a snail can race it. Worse than the slowness is the pain, dislocation= pain and vice versa.
We talk in sanitized terms, you read a history book that tells you how mercantilism changed into capitalism, but little mention of the carnage & pain. So here’s a valid prediction: many will die in the Mideast this summer. Revolutions devour their children.

I agree with postfuturist’s opinion that human access to “free will” is way over-rated.  I believe our behavior is largely biologically-determined, and I think both males and females should be humble and considerate about the parameters of their abilities. 

This puts me in disagreement with what cacarr calls the “Feminist- PoMo sociologists” who believe “it’s all enculturation… gender is just a social construct.”

For us to reach any agreement on the validity of women-only rule, we’d have to reach agreement on those issues as well: the limits of free will, and the influences of biological determinism and “enculturation.”  I am happy to keep discussing this in a search for common ground.

“I am happy to keep discussing this in a search for common ground.”

I wrote that three comments would be enough today but didn’t think anyone would respond so soon. The real problem with feminism is it has been an underestimation of male domination of women, not an overestimation; so often we get it all backwards, a mirror-image in reverse. Take the commonly accepted truism that the world is becoming relatively peaceful; true enough, however with roughly 40,000 nukes worldwide it is more accurate to write the world has reached a state of armed truce, so one might say ‘relative war’ rather than relative peace.
Hank, you are naturally correct on searching for common ground, yet it has to be comprehensive, a new worldview concerning all topics has to emerge; if a large body of knowledge has emerged for h+ & IT, then why not a retooling of all the rest? And it appears to be mandatory now, the Mideast is a signal IMO; not a signal from God or the cosmos, but a signal to bring us into this century, after all this country is still pretty much living in Ronald Reagan’s America though Reagan retired 22 years ago! we’d better tell the GOP that nostalgia can eventually become anti-conservative.
Most here know that when things change for the better is when the greatest peril begins, i.e. in the contemporary Mideast. Now we don’t want to single out the Mideast for its mistreatment of women, any more than America ought to be singled out for its mistreatment of Guatemala & Honduras. It merely leads to unending recrimination—and worse, jockeying for position; hardline Marxists for instance want to remove the bourgeoise so they themselves can oppress the proletariat and exploit nature as if there were literally no tomorrow.
Where is this going?: IMO you will have to call for the philosophical equivalent of a constitutional convention to evolve priorities in all areas. In fact it would have to be so comprehensive it would theoretically embrace the totality of our lives today and for at least a couple of decades ahead. You would have to recruit the cream of every h+ related organization, and exclude those seeking financial gain and those who are control freaks (the latter worse than the former). I’m not referring to contriving any sort of master plan, no matter what we do the dislocation will be severe. So a way to minimize as much as possible the pain to us and the biosphere must be evolved. Is there any choice left?
What disheartens me most is how my generation, the confused Boomers, has whelped so many outright clueless youths, some scarcely short of nihilistic; I’m afraid to so much as talk to them—this plus the burgeoning situation in the Mideast indicates a major overhaul has got to be done. The jig is up concerning the 20th century.


Pretty much, I think the only thing we really disagree on is the concept of exceptionalism.  Other than that, I’ve always been impressed by how similar our views are. We both seek similar goals, the only difference is in how far we are willing to allow the pendulum swing in the other direction.

I’m a strict neutral in matters of “superiority/inferiority” regardless of cause.  I don’t support any group trying to become “More Equal” than another group, regardless of historical justifications, past prejudice, etc. No-one has a right to play by rules that apply only to them.

I’ve been called racist for asking why there’s a “Black History Month” but no “White History Month” or “Indian History Month” or “Italian History Month” or “Woman’s History Month”. Why is one group alone “deserving” of a “celebration” of it’s history? Why is even asking that question a sign I’m “racist?”

The same goes for the “Male/female” debate. Why should either gender be “Superior?” Neither side is “perfect” and as someone stuck in the limbo between both, I am all too aware of that fact. I’ve met girls who see their gender as an excuse to be a parasite, to fasten on to one person after another and destroy their lives and finances, and then move on to the next victim. I’ve also met girls who’s first impulse in any situation is to lash out violently, counting on their gender to protect them from retaliation. No. I have no evidence to see girls as superior to boys, or as less violent, or less likely to be aggressive or less likely to seek war. People are people are people are people. Both men and women have their aggressives, and their passives, and their “hawks” and their “doves.” Neither side is “better” merely by existence. An “All female” government is no more likely or less likely to seek war if composed of violent, war seeking, aggressive woman, than one composed of violent war seeking aggressive men. The very methods we use for selection of those in power will ensure that only aggressive, driven, hyper competitive personalities will be elected. Real change will not occur because it’s male dominated or female dominated, but only when the system itself no longer favors aggressive hyper competitive personalities.

But in this current world, I’m quite aware that such a stance is going to draw fire from every side that wants exceptions made for their particular “clique” so that they can be allowed to do something or other that they do not want others to have the freedom to do. It’s human nature after all for the oppressed to seek to become the oppressor. No one wants equality, just inversion, to become top dog and the wielder of the whip. To move from the bottom of the pecking order to the top. As someone who truly seeks EQUALITY I’m all too used to being disagreed with.

As someone once said, the guy in the middle of the road get run over.

What Valkyrie said.

I have found this discussion quite naive. It is evident that everyone has both “male” and “female” aspects. Of course most persons are polarized in one or the other direction, often corresponding to their body gender, but we are becoming a mix and I think this is a good thing. Once most people were extremes (hyper-masculine men and hyper-feminine women), while now we find extreme hyper-gendered people comic.

As individuals we have “male” and “female” aspects, and as a society we have “male” and “female” aspects. Both are necessary, and I think removing one set by genetic engineering would be catastrophic. Sometimes an aggressive risk-taking attitude may lead to the best outcome - not always, and not even often, but sometimes it does.

Back to politicians, please repeat with me: successful politicians are only interested in 2 things: power and money. They are successful politicians because they are able to manipulate idiots like us into giving them more power and more money. Regardless of gender, a successful politician will do whatever it takes to achieve and keep power. If a politician calls for war, it is because he or she senses that this will make him or her more popular with voters. And let’s not forget that war means more money and more power for the ruling class. In a society where most citizens abhor war, no politician would recommend war.

A better solution is to build a society where power is distributed and decentralized and no politician, political party or corporation can achieve too much power. Of course, this is easy to say and difficult to do.

In this case the historical record alone casts considerable doubt on such naive genetic determinism. While women-only leadership might be politically desirable after the fashion of affirmative action, the motivating evo-psych worldview opposes the bulk of feminist thought and poses a threat to the dream of liberation. Casting XX folks as naturally peaceful falls into the well-worn trap of essentialism.

@Mike - I agree with you, both successful politicians and successful businesspeople are primarily interested in only two things: power and money. Of course there are some exceptions in both camps, but not enough to be significant factors. It is in the nature of power to want more power.

I see both big government and big business as a threat. They used to be in conflict and keep each other in check, but they seem to have discovered the advantages of cooperation. Their interests are the same: keeping all the power and all the money, crushing all opposition, and ruling over a world of contented sheeple.

There is an entrenched power system of big governments and big corporations working together to preserve their power, which is in the interest of both. We must break this system and give power back to citizens and small groups.

my thanks to Giulio and Mike for bringing up a point that I believe we can all agree on. 

If politics changes in a way that democratizes society, and distributes power, the whole concept of “leadership” becomes less important, and “leaders” become less dangerous.

Narrowing access to leadership (via gender, etc.) would (perhaps) be unnecessary if we eliminated the present alignment of power-hunger aggressive politicians with corporate like-minded tycoons.

I am in favor of direct democracy that lessens our reliance on “representatives” who can be bribed or manipulated.  Many city governments in South Korea make regional decisions via their resident’s email voting.  I’m in favor of that, plus multi-party systems, and strict campaign finance limitations.

Would reckless military decisions be lessened by direct democracy? I believe it would depend on the propaganda that voters swallowed, or didn’t swallow.

I’ve proposed before a type of national “reddit” forum that discussed and voted on political issues, to replace legislative bodies.  What do we think of that?

@Mike and Giulio

I would agree with you almost entirely with one major modification.

It is neither “Business” or “Politics” themselves that are dangers, but INDIVIDUALS with “High Status” manipulating these “Collectives” for their own personal ends.

The “collectives” themselves are not to blame, they are just tools for the human race, and like all tools are completely neutral. A Business or a Political system are designed to enable co-operation, and beneficial resource allocation and sharing to all members. In an ideal society, where all members are equal, it is an efficient means to ensure that all members benefit equally in proportion to the resources they contribute.

The problem is that individuals have learned how to “hijack” these collective organizations, and to prevent “fair resource distribution”, instead siphoning off these resources into personal “Status building” i.e. the “drive to accumulate money and power” which can be directly translated into “seeking to maximize personal status”

By doing this, these individuals become parasites, draining off large amounts of resources into their personal “Status building” while CONTRIBUTING AS LITTLE AS POSSIBLE.

And by blaming “the institution” i.e. “Business” or “Government” you are basically allowing these parasitical individuals to escape accountability.

The “dangers” currently facing “Democracy” is that the parasites have managed to convince far too many people that they are VITAL to the society, and that if only we allow them to drain us even more can “things get better” And part of the way they have done this it to get people to BLAME THE SYSTEM and not those ABUSING THE SYSTEM.

But no society can survive parasitism forever. As I have pointed out previously, the massive attempts by corporations to “control politics” is not a sign of them “winning”. It’s a sign of the desperation of the parasites controlling them to “keep the gravy flowing” when they are already suffering from a systemic erosion of “profits” due to accelerating technological advance. Like the Medieval Weavers Guild, they are feeling the effects of being made “obsolete” and are trying to grab ever more power and ever more status to maintain their positions as “King of the Hill.”

And like the Weavers of old, and the French Aristocracy, and so many other “elites” through the ages, they will learn that no-one stays at the top forever. You can’t keep a pyramid balanced on it’s point for long.

It may take another decade or two, but between such technologies as additive manufacturing rendering their “profits” valueless, and the “surveillance wars” I see coming as our world becomes saturated in sensors for VR and AR, they will not be able to continue to escape accountability for long.

And if Wisconsin is any indication, it might already be starting.

for further examination of how blaming the “Business” or “Government” is allowing these individuals to continue evading accountability, I recommend reading my blog post:

Needless to say, I recommend no leaders rather than better ones. But in the short-term I guess there’s some merit in pursuing former. As with your other idea, Hank, actually implementing this one would require smashing or at least significantly altering the patriarchy.

“...would say the same thing about successful businesspeople. That they also are primarily interested in only two things: power and money.”

Libertarians are too tough on the state, too easy on corporations. Libertarians, despite their motivation & savvy, are surprisingly utopian, or shall we say premature, the time frame involved is too vast. Libertarianism does make sense, but only as a standard for the remote—too remote IMO—future.
I don’t think Giulio understands this, or more likely he wants to gloss over it for brevity’s sake—so not to write naive or ‘utopian’, but rather, quite premature. In retrospect feminists weren’t, as they were depicted, wrong; they were also premature.
As summerspeaker writes, “actually implementing this one would require smashing or at least significantly altering the patriarchy.” Unfortunately the patriarchy smashes back, Hard, they play hardball. I read both progressive and “conservative” (Rightist) literature, and what becomes more obvious is how Rightists use all their pull to press their advantages to the fullest. They play for keeps. There is an alternative to change, naturally: we can accept the status quo, accept for example that expensive government buildings & monuments will continue to be named after Reagan (!), but I don’t think anyone at IEET wants the status quo.
Depends on terminology: what some of you might call social progress I call damage control; for instance in the Mideast what you might call progress I would think of as keeping the casualty rate in the thousands rather than in the millions.


“I’ve been called racist for asking why there’s a ‘Black History Month’ but no ‘White History Month’ or ‘Indian History Month’ or ‘Italian History Month’ or ‘Woman’s History Month’. Why is one group alone ‘deserving’ of a ‘celebration’ of it’s history? Why is even asking that question a sign I’m ‘racist?’
The same goes for the ‘Male/female’ debate. Why should either gender be ‘Superior?’ Neither side is ‘perfect’ and as someone stuck in the limbo between both, I am all too aware of that fact. I’ve met girls who see their gender as an excuse to be a parasite, to fasten on to one person after another and destroy their lives and finances, and then move on to the next victim. I’ve also met girls who’s first impulse in any situation is to lash out violently, counting on their gender to protect them from retaliation. No. I have no evidence to see girls as superior to boys, or as less violent, or less likely to be aggressive or less likely to seek war.”

Your comments are valid only up to a point. Blacks have to be granted not only their own History Month but also Affirmative Action, as slavery & Jim Crow hurt them too much to heal anytime soon. And women, I submit, are more ‘sinned against than sinning’; the behaviors you mention above derive primarily from a woman’s knowledge that she is the universal second class citizen of the world. How many men are raped by women? while billions of women have been raped by men. Billions. How can women be held culpable for war when women did not invent war, nor were they involved in most of the combat? Whatever slight blame can be assigned to women is mostly based on false consciousness inculcated into women by men. Men have always treated women pretty much as children, or as adolescents. BTW think of all the adolescents who were conscripted into wars by their elders in the name of ‘protecting Constitutions’, when they were actually used as cannon fodder to protect the property of older people—are adolescents to be held responsible for those wars? No. And nether can women or children be held responsible.


And turning the tables and granting “Greater than equality” balances things how? Does making the repressed the repressor “solve” anything? or does it merely promote the cycle of inequality and abuse?

Do I disagree with you that any of these abuses happen? No. BUT REVERSING THE TOP AND BOTTOM is NOT A SOLUTION, merely revenge thinking.

I was an abused kid in school. I had most of the kids in school throw rocks at me, steal my books and toss them in the creek, and pour paint in my gymbag. Would you claim I had a right to throw rocks at them and destroy their stuff in turn? Would that then make me “Equal” because I was the Bully instead?

No, sorry. Your argument is little more than vindictive thinking. “It’s PAYBACK time.” and as such has very little merit in terms of actually promoting EQUALITY.

Valkyrie, if I accepted what you write above, I would be:
1) a ‘believer’ in social progress (am not sure).
2) still a futurist.

It appears scientific progress (at the very least pure science) is real, all the rest is dicey. Too early to tell, IMO.
Is that enough, or do you want more?

“Your argument is little more than vindictive thinking. ‘It’s PAYBACK time.’ and as such has very little merit in terms of actually promoting EQUALITY.”

The above is your #1 error. “Equality” is your interpretation; I prefer ‘damage control’ to ‘equality’ or ‘social progress’, because IMO equality & social progress are premature. What does equality mean in a world of homo sapiens? there can be no genuine compliance as of yet. You are young, Valkyrie, you might be able to afford to wait the long time you will have to wait for equality—and the meaning of equality in a posthumanist world will be different from today’s meaning of equality.
Patience is a virtue.

Actually I’m 41, and I view the world as a far less static place than you seem to. I don’t see “equality” as being decades and decades off. I see it as being an end result to the very chaotic collapse of the “Status Quo” pecking order that is under assault by advancing technology and that probably has less than two decades remaining before it’s extinction.

You’re for damage control? Good, because the chaos is just starting and the world is going to need a LOT of damage control as the “Status Quo” tries desperately to force stagnation on the world in their bid to prevent change. It’s going to cost a lot lives before it’s inevitable failure. BUT IT WILL FAIL.

I’m not an optimist. I’m a cynic, and this is all too predictable. There is chaos and death and destruction on a massive scale coming, all because of the various groups that will be seeking “freedom” not to be equal, but to extract vengeance on those they see as their oppressors. And when all the heads are done rolling, and the “status quo” is lying in ruins, then perhaps we’ll finally see some sanity as people realize what EQUALITY actually means in a world in which EVERYTHING is a matter of choice.

And there is none of that going to wait for “The Singularity” to happen before we will have to pay the piper for the suicidal stupidity of “Exceptionalism”

So like you, I’m also engaging in damage control. The only real difference seems to be our opinions on how soon and how much will be needed. My sole motivation is to attempt to ensure the fewest number of corpses line the road. I don’t have the “luxury” of patience, because there is no more time. It’s not some future day that is comfortably far off that I am discussing, BUT RIGHT NOW.

To be honest, I expect so much change to be compressed into this decade alone that we may not even recognize the world anymore in 2020.

So, Women’s equality? When VR hits and the sheer number of guys who want to be girls finally becomes impossible to ignore as their avatars escape the internet to walk down the street? I don’t really think it’s going to be a matter of discussion anymore. It’s going to be “Equality or else.” And when the ability to change genders follows just a few years later? It’s going to be a debate that no longer even has a basis in reality.

@Hank re direct democracy - I think “a type of national “reddit” forum that discussed and voted on political issues, to replace legislative bodies. would be a very cool idea, but of course the devil is in the detail and it would be difficult to implement.

One problem is that, like in all forms of democracy, majorities can and do oppress minorities for no reasons. Take for example gay marriage - in a referendum, the “moral majority” would vote against, even if they are not affected by the outcome. I think all and only the persons affected by a decision should be consulted.

@postfuturist re “too tough on the state, too easy on corporations” - I am very tough on both, and I think the current form of both must go.

@Velkyrie re individuals vs. the system - Of course individual sharks can do a lot of damage but, you see, if a system can be abused it will be abused. As Mike says, we should have “an optimal distribution of power, with checks and balances to limit the potential for dangerous accumulations of centralized dominance.” There used to be one, but it is broken since governments and corporations have discovered the advantages of cooperation. Today, big corporations and big governments work together against us.

“I don’t see ‘equality’ as being decades and decades off ... probably… less than two decades remaining…”

No, you are not being optimistic above, you are being gullible—though only in this particular case. It is bad futurology:

‘a futurist was diagnosed as having a few years to live and when he didn’t die after a few years, the doctor gave him a few more years.’

In 20 years a great deal of positive material development will occur, why would anyone blog at IEET if he or she did not think so? Yet 20 years from now we’ll be having much the same dialogues; or in the case of the GOP, monologues. The GOP, given America’s importance, is perhaps the most conservative party in the world and has no intention of giving up its death grip on American life. Doesn’t matter how the web can democratize America, democracy also means demagogues are empowered by the web, and America is chock-filled with demagogues masquerading as celebrities, celebrity in & of itself being sufficiently egotistical enough to begin with. Please spare us any feel-good concerning 20 years from now. 2050? Maybe so. Late in this century? quite a good prognosis. However there are always casualties, so it depends on the casualty rate. The GOP and its Tea Bagging allies made it clear on 11/02/‘10 that they want good healthcare for the GOP & the Right, but everyone else can just simply drop dead; it was as clear a message as if the GOP had shouted it. Decentralization may very well only mean in the short run (and 20 years is a short-run) the Right can divide and conquer more readily. In fact, that is their job, the Right doesn’t disguise its intentions save for pro forma religiosity.
To get back on-topic, why is it you of all things fear female supremacy? even in social democracies men reign supreme. Asia is fairly autocratic, and the Mideast is largely Islamic. Sure, things will change, albeit the casualty rate might negate it. Though we are Darwinist integers, no one wants to think of themselves as being expendable—even if they are.

Take corporate money in politics, Valkyrie—please.
It’s a dictum that the more funding a politico obtains from a corporation, the more biased he is towards the corporation. Plus the more funds a politico gives to “the” media (however decentralized) via advertising, the more biased the media becomes towards the politico; it is all scarcely unnoticeable. So decentralization in the short run (i.e. <20 years) unfortunately does not mean money can be removed as the primary determinant of electoral politics, or for that matter any politics—you think it is better in the other titans, China and Russia? same everywhere. Which is cold comfort.
But if you can come up with a solution to this, Valkyrie, then you ought to be elected head of IEET and also the United Transhumanists of the World.


As I said, you have a far more static worldview than I do.


Correct, which is why it is important to discern the difference between a system being abused, and the means to make that system unabusable. We tried “checks and balances” and the “cult of secrecy” created by the cold war destroyed them. The only way to put them back in place is to eliminate secrecy. And the only way that can be done is by making secrecy impossible, which will require technological measures that are not yet in place, but which show every sign of being put into place over the next two decades.

“As I said, you have a far more static worldview than I do.”

Sadly, the enormous Rightwing in America, the only nation I am familiar with (it takes decades to know another country well) has far, FAR more of a static worldview than I do. You might be able to convince me someday; however to convince them? How? at gunpoint? Do you know how fusty they are? Do you “talk” (they do all the talking) to them? Do you have any idea how pigheaded they are? Would you like to find out, Valkyrie?
America is supposed to be the most advanced nation, yet the closest we have come to electing a woman president is two female vice presidential candidates: Geraldine Ferraro and Sarah Palin. That’s it—not even close. Palin may be elected president eventually, say by 2020; question is, do we want her for POTUS? isn’t she actually selling a lifestyle, a “we love animals in Alaska- they taste yummy after you shoot them” lifestyle?

Sorry, ‘less than 20 years’ appears too optimistic at this time. Merely because your worldview is not static does not make it correct.



this runs counter to my argument but it is very entertaining. 
In Libya, Gaddafi has a personal highly-trained bodyguard force of
200 ferocious female fighters known as
“The Revolutionary Nuns” or
“The Green Nuns” or “The Amazon Nuns.” 

There’s information at this link.

And the Libyan Airforce is staffed with Flying Nuns.
Hank, if we were more devious, probably the right thing to do would be to vote for Palin, it would be an end run around the GOP: millions want a female deerhunter as president? grant their wish and say “you made your bed, now lie in it!” Palin would probably grow the government larger than Eleanor Roosevelt would ever want to do.
You think it is an exaggeration to write that the GOP has a death grip on America? who got Reagan in the White House, twice? Who got both Bushes in the WH, for a dozen years between them? Gingrich for four years? which party controls the House today? The reason for cynicism is I grew up in the ‘60s and there was all this talk about revolution and colonizing space (by 2010 in many minds), and what happened?: the dumb hippies wound up rolling in the mud at Woodstock like pigs.

“It is also true, however, that Libya has made more advances in women’s rights than perhaps any other Arab country.”

That really isn’t saying anything, is it? like saying Ronald Reagan cut government spending .09 percent more than any other GOP cornball.
Don’t get it, Hank: if men wont even release control over women they care about, how can they be expected to release control over women who are total strangers?

List of Wars and Anthropogenic Disasters by Death Toll

Just how literally should we interpret “anthropogenic” ?

The typical woman can be just as fierce defending herself, or her children, as the typical man. But women typically have no impulse to territorial expansion (cf. “Lebensraum” etc). Likewise, in the ancestral environment of adaptation, there wasn’t any advantage to women in waging aggressive war. (cf. the different reproductive strategy of males.)

@postfuturist re “The reason for cynicism is I grew up in the ‘60s and there was all this talk about revolution and colonizing space (by 2010 in many minds), and what happened?: the dumb hippies wound up rolling in the mud at Woodstock like pigs.

Not very flattering for our generation but true enough.

I think it’s all poo. Women are plenty capable of being bigoted and destructive too, you know.

Jessica, I think we all agree that women are “plenty capable of being bigoted and destructive too”.
But there is a robust positive correlation between violent behaviour and high testosterone function. Men, overwhelmingly, have higher testosterone function than women. Men overwhelmingly throughout history have also instigated and waged war. A convergence of evidence from evolutionary biology and experimental psychology suggests that this positive correlation is not a mere statistical artefact. Rather it expresses a causal relationship.

So if we are risk-averse, is it rational to elect a male-dominated political leadership?

“So if we are risk-averse, is it rational to elect a male-dominated political leadership?”

No, it is not. And though not to pick on Islamics (such is for rightwing Christians, etc, to do), the revolutions in the Mideast aren’t going to much for women; men will be empowered in the region, but for women it will largely be a change of masters; or more accurately fathers. Women there will continue to be treated like daughters—on a good day.

A good way to express it for the dumb public is in religious terms, which are direct, if direct is what one wants. You can say ‘women are more sinned against than sinning.’ To blame women for war is too remote IMO. We can blame children as well, to be more remote concerning cause. Even newborn children can be blamed, in a religious manner (and ludicrously): we can say a child is born with original sin and that a baby who gets too many calories is helping to starve an orphan in a third world country; that is the sort of preposterous logic fundamentalists might sometimes use; they appear to think only fetuses are truly innocent.
So though women can be held responsible for war indirectly, it is an exaggeration to say women are as responsible for war as men, that women are directly responsible. A great deal of flawed logic derives from seeking remote causation in metaphysical thinking.
Just today a woman was blamed for something: Rush Limbaugh in effect accused Michelle Obama of being a hypocrite because she ate a high calorie meat entree at a restaurant while promoting better dieting for children through her LetsMove initiative. First of all when a waiter or host recommends a dish, many of us don’t want to reply, “no, I don’t want it, give me a low-calorie veggie burger instead.” Also, Michelle Obama is concentrating more on educating children than adults to eat better—nor is she force-feeding anyone a lighter fare. Naturally, though Limbaugh is very influential he is merely an entertainer who wants to make his hate radio show more interesting so to keep his ratings very high. However he is using Michelle Obama as a voodoo doll to stick his needle into.
It depends on what the subtext of what men are saying to women: if they mean in a predatory world men are the providers, then they are being candid—yet it is based on half-truth. Men own the world, thus the world is predatory, thus men are the main providers. Or in a classist context, the bourgeoisie provides the jobs, and the proletariat are the beneficiaries; and all that jazz.
One point I agree with Valkyrie Ice on (and this is relevant to Women’s issues) is PC: identity politics can involve too much obfuscation & divisiveness. For instance why might it be worse for a white racist such as David Duke to call himself a ‘Euro-American’ than for a black racist like Reverend Jeremiah Wright to refer to himself as an ‘African-American’? ID labels such as ‘white’ & ‘black’ suffice; using longer designations is obfuscatory and polarizing. Feminists did go too far in this regard in the past, however it’s ancient history that women called certain men ‘male chauvinist pigs’—even if the men in question were in fact male chauvinist beasts. Today a bad guy is called, quite succinctly, an assh**e (this is a family-friendly site).
IMO many men blame women excessively, e.g. for war, because, say, a given guy divorces a woman (or vice versa) and he has visions of her casting spells on him or flying around on a broomstick. So he for a long time—if not permanently—demonizes women.

@David re “So if we are risk-averse, is it rational to elect a male-dominated political leadership?

The keywords are “rational” and “elect”.  In a democracy citizens make a choice, hopefully based on rational criteria, and elect other citizens who have chosen to run. If I were persuaded by your argument, I would give preference to female candidates. But I don’t want to give up democracy for authoritarianism.

Giulio, I don’t want to give up democracy for authoritarianism any more than you do. The transition from a mostly male to an all-female political class could only happen by broad consent. The transition would need democratic legitimation - or else it wouldn’t work.

Evolution “designed” men to be warriors and competitive risk-takers. Yes, a lot of high-testosterone males do manage -  most of the time -  to suppress these (conditionally activated) traits. But when the stakes are so ridiculously high, why take the risk?

My beef is: one can blame women for some things, but for war??
it is unconscionable. Do we blame male teenagers for war? is that why they have been conscripted into armed forces (and are still drafted in some nations)?
No: they are scapegoats for the power maneuvers of older men, they are treated as sacrificial animals.

“The transition from a mostly male to an all-female political class could only happen by broad consent.”

Naturally. A large fraction—say 10 percent—of men would rather beat women up than release their power over them. Long way to go—a long time.

Just thought I’d point out this fact.

Testosterone doesn’t cause aggression. Society does that.

You’d think that people would be more aware of this.

This of course does not mean that men aren’t more likely to be violent risk-takers. It just proves that testosterone isn’t the culprit.

Testosterone actually makes men and women more peaceful. Low testosterone and social pressure are scientifically shown to increase aggression and dementia.

Maybe if we actually lived in a world with high testosterone, self-confident leaders instead of middle-aged low testosterone male leaders struggling for dominance, there would be less war.

David, let’s inform ourselves and stop spreading misinformation.

The myth that aggressiveness and risk taking is elevated with respect to testosterone level is dispelled. If anything, the opposite is true. Testosterone is nothing like ethyl alcohol and to compare the two is apples and oranges.

Not only are high testosterone males more peaceful, they live longer lives than low testosterone males.

Low testosterone in older men may also explain the average difference in longevity between older men and women.

Vilifying testosterone is totally illogical.

Nicer, I promise I have no intention of “vilifying” testosterone (or indeed men). Rather we’re confronted with a striking fact. Throughout history, and throughout prehistory, and among our closest primate relatives, wars have been overwhelmingly instigated and waged by members of one gender. Evidently, genes and cultures have co-evolved. They interact in complex feedback loops. So an explanation of the disproportionately warlike behaviour of one gender involves cultural factors as well as a detailed hormonal and neurobiological story. But simply invoking “culture” as an explanation is not enough - any more than simply invoking biology (or indeed “testosterone”). Presumably we want to understand how, and why, independently evolved and otherwise disparate human cultures exhibit this striking uniformity of behaviour i.e. why throughout history men and not women have been “warriors”, whether we’re considering New Guinea tribesmen, Yanomami Indians, or Cold War advocates of “preventive” thermonuclear strikes against the “enemy”. Or alternatively, is this cross-cultural consistency of gender-roles merely a freakishly improbable coincidence?

Of course testosterone isn’t “bad”: it’s just a steroid hormone. High testosterone function is associated with optimism and vitality. The “male hormone” is critical to female sexual response. Testosterone has undoubtedly played a key role in some of our highest scientific achievements as a species. Unlike in lizards, for example, boosting testosterone function doesn’t automatically boost aggression. In humans, this trait is only conditionally activated. In other circumstances, as you note, testosterone can promote e.g. status-promoting concern for fairness. This is no more of a paradox than pointing out how our favourite pro-social intoxicant, ethyl alcohol, is disproportionately implicated in domestic assaults and crimes of violence. The significant causal role of ethyl alcohol in (much) violent crime doesn’t make alcohol a “violent drug” any more than testosterone is a “violent hormone”. It’s merely a risk factor.

In one sense, however, this discussion is academic. I predict that members of the gender that killed over a hundred million people last century will kill hundreds of millions of people this century. Whether this outcome could have been averted by electing all-women political representatives is unlikely to be put to the test.

From what I can see, you associated high testosterone with aggression several times. You stated that most high testosterone males “manage to suppress” their conditionally violent tendencies.

According to these studies, high testosterone males don’t have violent tendencies. The only correlation between testosterone and aggression is a negative one, read: high testosterone actually inhibits violence and risk taking in human males. It causes men to be more fair-minded, risk-averse, and peaceful. It does exactly the opposite of what it was conventionally believed to do. It effectively lowers the risk factor.

Alcohol on the other hand decreases inhibition, increasing the risk factor. You can’t compare the two.

It turns out that testosterone is actually a positive for males. If anything is a risk factor, it’s low testosterone.

It makes sense that high testosterone males are peaceful. Blood testosterone increases in males upon achieving a goal. There’s no reason to be aggressive in such a situation.

I have long thought that hyper-aggressiveness and risk taking was a byproduct of low intelligence. Most of the intelligent men I know are very peaceful people. Perhaps low testosterone is an additional factor in men. I doubt that men are, on average, dumber than women, but something has to account for the difference in aggressiveness now that we know it isn’t testosterone.

I am still not convinced that most wars are started by aggressiveness. Greed is a much more powerful motivator. It inspires more violence than any other human trait. I think that the genders of past rulers who have started wars is irrelevant The only relevant fact is that more often than not, these war-instigating rulers were greedy people.

Greed is what should be avoided when electing a leader, not a particular gender.

Men in general are not ‘warriors’. A small, ethnically varying percentage of men are, but being a ‘warrior’ does not necessarily make one predisposed to wanton violence and hyper-aggressiveness.

Here’s another interesting relevant study:

High estrogen levels makes women more dominant, and likely to seek power.

“Our findings perfectly parallel what we have observed for power motivation and testosterone in men,”

Estradiol also has longer half-life, and thus a longer lasting effect, than testosterone. Of course, dominance isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but this is certainly worth considering alongside this proposition.

‘I think it’s all poo. Women are plenty capable of being bigoted and destructive too, you know’

Thank you Jessica. It’s been my experience with certain individuals and I don’t think it does any harm to remind progressives that not all men are alpha males either. My wife used to leave me with my daughter for hours contrary to Taiwanese tradition (viz. men are no good with kids) and I used to astonish her friends with how well I looked after my little princess (yes, men can be vomit inducing too). Hell, if I could have been a stay-at-home husband, I’d have been as happy as a hippie in mud.

As regards the question of why men are more directly involved in war (women can be indirectly as in giving out white feathers and other egging-on techniques) aside from purely hypothetical biological determinants there is surely a point of logic (albeit derived from obvious biological fact.ors) to be considered. Women can only have a few offspring but one man can impregnate God knows how many women (yes, ladies I know that’s all our fault too and no, I am not speaking from experience. I’m not an alpha male). So logically men are the ones who the species can afford to lose more of biologically speaking. It may be a man’s world ladies but it still ain’t no joy ride.

Finally to make a point that has already been made from a slightly different angle, we have to be careful of the law of unintended consequences. I remember a short science fiction story I once read (and if anyone knows the title and author I’d be much obliged as I’ve been searching for it on the net) where the time traveller goes back in time and gets rid of every evil person from history (more a fantasy than science fiction but anyway). He then returns to his own altered time to live among the gentle vegetarian people of Earth who have never known war. (Spoiler alert!)

And then there is a vicious alien invasion…

Hi Nicer—I hope you’re not getting distracted from the topic. 
There has been considerable discussion (and denial) on this thread regarding the causes of violence.  Male violence is far from understood.  We can argue about testosterone, or the “warrior gene” but I think what we should really focus on is that it definitely exists, it is a serious peril, and we should do something to end it. 
Violence around the world is consistently 85-90% male, and we seem to be self-destructively addicted to it, via the glorification of it in sports and films and solving world conflict.  If you have a plan to end male violence, I would love to hear it. If you think that violence isn’t really “male”—well, I’d still love to hear your plan to end it.  Perhaps you have a plan to end “greed” - ? Please let us know.  Here’s two books that you could also take a look at:
Male Violence - John Archer
Demonic Males - Apes and the Origins of Human Violence

Hi Hank,

Men most certainly do commit most of the violence in the world. I’m not sure why. I just though I’d point out that science has verified that high testosterone isn’t the culprit.

I wish I had a solution. I read an interesting essay that termed it “male pattern violence”. I think that’s a more appropriate term.

Both males and females can be aggressive in the appropriate setting, and in different ways. I think human society is conducive to male physical violence. I’d even go so far as to say that many women are evolutionarily designed to like aggressive men, which in turn encourages men to be aggressive. Women may even use men as conduits of their own aggression.

Surely it is partly biological, (males are more likely to suffer from genetic disorders, for example), but the precise reason is hard to put one’s finger on. As I said, I find that intelligent people tend to have cooler heads.

The only surefire way to end greed is to end scarcity. I think male aggression causes only minor conflicts. Large scale conflict is caused by greed and status seeking. Think wars, mafia, gangs and drug traffic.

I think it’s important for us to remember that while most violence is perpetrated by males, the majority of males aren’t violent. It’s safe to allow these non-violent males to lead.

Nicer: “Large scale conflict is caused by greed and status seeking. Think wars, mafia, gangs and drug traffic.

I agree. Some males are more comfortable than most females with physical hand-to-hand combat, but these days kings don’t lead their armies in war anymore.

Today’s political commanders are as removed from actual physical combat as they can be. Instead they send others (usually young men) to war and death, for their own greed and status seeking. And greedy status seekers are equally distributed in both genders.

If human experimenters were to prevent free-living male chimpanzees from waging war on neighbouring troops, would female chimps in the troop do so instead? If male Yanomamo amerindians were prevented from waging war on neighboring tribes,̧nomamö#cite_note-Keeley-2
would female Yanomamo go on the warpath instead?

Clearly we’re not chimpanzees or Yanomamo amerindians. Controlled experimentation with modern state actors would be difficult. Maybe early 21st century humans have transcended traditional biology and its gender roles. Unfortunately I see little evidence this is the case.

Hey David,

Intelligent humans are much more likely to flout traditional, naturally evolved values and tendencies.

Perhaps many humans are stuck in the paleolithic, but there is evidence that intelligent humans are transcending traditional biology.

For example, humans are naturally evolved to be paranoid and superstitious, and to believe in external agency, which is why the majority of humans believe in god(s). Such beliefs are a part of human nature. Yet the majority of more intelligent humans hold either atheist or agnostic beliefs. That’s transcendence.

There’s a considerable difference between tribal warfare and modern war, colonialism, or imperialism. It’s also important to remember that Yanomamo amerindians are contemporary humans with a different culture; they are not our ancient ancestors.

In Endemic warfare, wounding is actually rare, and killing is even rarer. It’s almost like a sport. Most disputes are actually settled with words, with killing being last on the agenda. There are few parallels to modern warfare, wherein the object of the ‘game’ is to kill.

Most of these people who engage in tribal warfare saw the US Iraq invasion to be very different from the warfare they practice.

And that’s because it is very different. Greed is far more dangerous than male aggression.

“women can be indirectly [involved in war] as in giving out white feathers and other egging-on techniques”

But that brings up how adolescents are remotely involved in war, children too; you can blame a five year old who learns to dissemble—if you want to. If a far-rightist Christian wanted to blame a zygote for being tainted in the womb with original sin and thus [very] remotely culpable for war, why not? Guilt sells.
BTW, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pol, were not greedy, they ‘merely’ wanted power and to kill their enemies real & imagined.
It’s more complicated than any of us want to think it is.


And for the same reasons, men aren’t to be blamed for war. The leaders who instigate wars are to be blamed for war.

Hitler wasn’t greedy? Hitler wanted to control the world. There are few, if any, humans in history who were greedier than Hitler. Power is a means to an ends, not an ends in and of itself. Power-hunger is greed.

Your mention of Stalin undermines your position. Stalin didn’t start any wars. In fact, he negotiated the non-aggression pact between Russia and Germany before WWII began. The bloodshed didn’t begin until Hitler broke the pact and Russia was invaded by Germany.

I agree that it is very complicated. But one cannot ignore that greed is central in modern warfare.

Nicer, I’m not sure it affects the thrust of our discussion, but do recall the Soviet invasion of Poland in September 1939 and the unprovoked attack on Finland in November 1939
Also perhaps see:

“The leaders who instigate wars are to be blamed for war.”

No, also volunteers—but not conscripts. We ought to mention atrocities. Not many atrocities are committed by American forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the few that are committed involve male perpetrators. Let’s take the Vietnam War as a specific example: the atrocities, and many atrocities were committed in ‘Nam, were male-perpetrated atrocities. Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq are merely three out of thousands of examples of war.
I only continue to stress the remoteness of the culpability of women for war because commenters here insist on reiterating the indirect involvement of women. Again, if someone wants to mention the slight role of women in war, then why not cast the guilt net wider; why not include adolescents and even children who do wrong as being responsible in the remotest sense for war?
Certainly Stalin was responsible for wars. Stalin sabotaged the Spanish Republic in attempting to dominate the Republican conduct of the war against the Nationalists led by Franco. Stalin threatened Tito’s Jugoslavia with invasion two decades later. If Stalin didn’t start any wars he didn’t do all that much to prevent wars. If Stalin was a pacifist, he had a strange way of showing it.

‘The only surefire way to end greed is to end scarcity. I think male aggression causes only minor conflicts. Large scale conflict is caused by greed and status seeking. Think wars, mafia, gangs and drug traffic.’

I agree that would go a long way to ending war (if only because people who are materially satisfied don’t feel like following war-like leaders) but it’s not the whole story. We would still have the problem of power-hungry as opposed to wealth-hungry individuals and they might even do their best to see that scarcity is not alleviated even where possible so as to conserve power.

On the question of Stalin, I’d just like to point out that even though he did not start any wars directly (he may have egged on the North Koreans) his aggression was directed against his own people.

Yes, adolescents can be very aggressive and some of them grow up to be war-mongers. Others become gangsters etc. and are involved in small-scale (still rather unpleasant) conflicts. Embryos in the womb are innocent but if they grow up in societies with certain values (eg Victorian and Edwardian Britain) they’re going to be involved with war directly or indirectly unless they do their best to oppose it or at least stay out of it (in which case the white feathers were handed out by women who were in no danger of being sent to the front).

Volunteers cannot be held responsible for wars either. Most of them are cowed or beguiled into service by propaganda, especially the young ones. The sole responsible party is the initiator. Blaming women, men, or children for war is nonsense.

We have established that the phenomenon of male-pattern violence exists: there is no denying it. I argue that it is not the underlying cause for modern war.

Wartime atrocities are committed by terrible people. If I recall, atrocities in the recent Iraqi war involved both male and female perpetrators. It is clear that men, however, have a greater likelihood to commit such atrocities. Men are also more likely to join the armed forces.

I misspoke. As David mentioned, Stalin’s invasions of Finland (acquiring 11% of their territory and 30% of the country’s economic assets) displays how central greed is in warfare. I’m certainly not saying Stalin was a pacifist, and I have no interest in defending Stalin. What I advocate is that greed is a far greater factor in the decision to invade or initiate war than male aggression.

Invasion is a manifestation of greed coupled with power, not aggression for its own sake.

“On the question of Stalin, I’d just like to point out that even though he did not start any wars directly (he may have egged on the North Koreans) his aggression was directed against his own people.”

It’s good you reminded us of it, North Korea would not have invaded the South without Stalin’s green-light.
More relevant to today is that Stalin paved the way for the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, the first time the Soviets sent in regular forces in a full-scale invasion of a nation that had not invaded them. The Soviets appeared to have learned nothing from America’s suicidal Vietnam War; The Dec 1979 invasion negated the anti-imperialist origin of the Soviet Union, and the war in Afghanistan continues to this day. Not good, unless you happen to like war—and quite a few do.



You’re probably right Paul. I think power-hunger and greed are the same. After all, money is power.

I don’t think quite think that people who egg-on wars are responsible for them, but it brings up an interesting question. Is a leader who goes to war because his people want war somehow blameless? This is rarely, if ever, the case when it comes to invasions, but it is still interesting to contemplate.

At any rate, I want Selective Service shut down. Whichever GOP lapdog is elected in 2016 will have to rely on volunteers to fight his war.


“As David mentioned, Stalin’s invasions of Finland (acquiring 11% of their territory and 30% of the country’s economic assets) displays how central greed is in warfare.”

Good point. THAT was the first all-out invasion by the Soviets, yet the invasion of Finland lasted a few months; the invasion of Afghanistan by Soviet regulars continued for 9 years.
Any way you look at it it isn’t very encouraging, the Soviets didn’t learn from America’s royal screw-up in Vietnam.
We were the Soviet Union’s #2 enemy—they were their own worst enemy.


I am usually better with checking and presenting facts, so I hope you’ll forgive my misstatement about Stalin.

I agree that blaming women for war is nonsense. Denying male-pattern aggression is also nonsense. Science has shown that it isn’t caused by high testosterone. Now the task is to find where the problem lies.

I also think calling it “male-pattern” aggression rather than male aggression is important, as it does not affect all or even most men, nor is it endemic to men. It is overrepresented in men in comparison to women. Thus, male-pattern aggression.

Personally, I think some human behaviors need control, likely artificial control. male pattern aggression is one of these behaviors.

Moreover, I think pacific leaders of all genders are the safest ticket to the future.

‘I don’t think quite think that people who egg-on wars are responsible for them, but it brings up an interesting question.’

Nicer, Postfuturist and others, I accept that wars are initiated by men 99.999% of the time.My point wasn’t to blame women (or embryos etc.) for wars but to point out that not all are blameless when it comes to the promotion of violence and given that mothers are probably the parents children are most in contact with, their values are most likely to be passed down. If they (and househusbands, still a minority) pass down the so-called ‘martial values’, it doesn’t help the promotion of peace. And therefore I suggest that Hank’s thesis is invalid. The values are the pivotal point, not the gender of the government.

My other point is that if we wish to get rid of aggression (good idea, in the main) we have to be careful not to throw out the baby of dynamism. I doubt we’ll ever face an alien invasion but ther are plenty of other existential risks where we’ll have tmove into top gear to survive. Aggressive individuals are energetic individuals (the opposite isn’t true) and we need them to direct their energies in worthwhile directions. How to get the dynamism without the aggression, that is the question.

“It would be easy to engineer a society with no sex difference in attitude between men and women.  Inject all pregnant women with the right dose of hormones, and the result would be men and women with normal bodies but identical feminine brains.  War, rape, boxing, car racing, pornography, and hamburgers and beer would soon be distant memories.  A feminist paradise would have arrived.”

Matt Ridley, The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature, New York, 1993, p. 256

There are many things wrong with that proposal Pablo. Easy solutions usually involve authoritarianism, omit many details, and oversimplify the issue.

A feminist paradise is no more valuable than a masculinist paradise, or any other sort of paradise achieved by the silencing of contrary voices. A society of uniformly like-minded individuals is undesirable. It is not something we should strive for.

I’m sure plenty of women like hamburgers, car racing, beer, and boxing, and some even like pornography, war, and rape (female rapists). Personally, I think the only ‘bad’ items listed are war (conditionally) and rape.

Male-pattern aggression may not be the result of the male gendered brain, but some hormonal mixture, or society itself. Also, male-pattern aggression isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as Paul pointed out.

I think that ‘engineering society’ is inherently a bad idea. I don’t see how it can be accomplished on a global scale without a “crusade”, thus violating human rights. The idea of coercing everyone into agreement by any means seriously bothers me.

Any sort of modification to a person should be optional, the only exception being cases wherein the particular human being violates the rights of others. Perhaps a sort of tranquillizer for serial rapists, murderers, and the like. But other than that, manipulating people for the “betterment of society” is a terrible idea. Choice is what is important.

Nicer, the proposal could work only through consent, not coercion. If a majority of men didn’t accept the rationale behind a woman-only political leadership, then such a safety-measure could never come into effect. My guess is that a majority of men won’t agree - and hundreds of millions of (male and female) lives will be lost in consequence.

I understand that David. I was referring to Pablo’s comment.

I think that a lot of women would disagree too. Perhaps even a majority of women. The key to saving those lives isn’t all-female leadership. It’s responsible leadership.

“I am usually better with checking and presenting facts, so I hope you’ll forgive my misstatement about Stalin.”

I did the same thing, forgetting the Soviet invasion of Eastern Poland in 1939, and neglecting mention of the invasion of Finland a couple of months later. But when we get around to the subject of Stalin, we know we are off-topic. The discussion of empowering women is a long term one; at this time there appears IMO to be no evidence men on a mass scale want to cease controlling women. For instance burgeoning Mideast democracy will free men in a general sense however at this time it doesn’t appear women will benefit nearly as much; and men control women even in Scandinavia.
Optimism is fine, but it is so easy for a future-oriented person to be pollyannish (I was that way for 30 years), one must continually utilize GIGO in the mind, as the mind is so prone to illusions: we want to encourage others yet over-encouraging them can create illusions negating any positives. Would anyone here write “women will be fully empowered by 2050”? possibly; but they would want to hedge by saying “as far as I know, women will be as free as men in 2050”, which is rather a bit of weasel-pablum. It’s saying “I really don’t know what is going to happen so I ‘ll say ‘women shall be free in 2050’ and such will make me feel better, as well as the women I tell it to.”
Not to write it is inevitable women wont be freed from domineering (control freak) men for a very long time, but IMO it is entirely predictable—whatever value ‘predictable’ may hold.

Thank you for the insight postfuturist. As individuals, we can only voice our hopes for the future, and try to make a difference.

I think that it is vital that women take their place as leaders of the world. I don’t think that male hegemony will continue far into the future. But I don’t think that an ‘affirmative action’ policy is necessary, or desirable. I am optimistic that the day when a female President of the United States is inaugurated is not far away.

Science has shown us that, humans tend to stray from natural evolved values. I think this is good news, as I believe most of us can agree that prejudice, superstition, and paranoia are more harmful than helpful in today’s world.

Of course this assumes that in fact humans are becoming, on average, more intelligent. Hopefully, we are.

Say it takes 50-100 years for male hegemony to finish, by cosmic time that is nothing; however by subjective human time (i.e. the patience of a given woman is tried by waiting to be freed), it can be something unbearable. As for humans becoming, on average, more intelligent, the evidence is we are becoming smarter. Unfortunately, bad guys—- including violent criminals—are becoming more intelligent as well.

“But I don’t think that an ‘affirmative action’ policy is necessary, or desirable.”

For blacks Affirmative Action is necessary; blacks were treated badly not only by slavery but by Jim Crow as well; the latter not always gone into nearly as much as slavery. A judgment call would be Affirmative Action is to be reserved for blacks, no one else—however then both “left” and “right” become exercised at the mere suggestion their oxen are being gored. The political situation is hypostatic, so hegemony (especially male hegemony) might continue far into the future, yet such again depends on how one perceives time.
No purpose in blogging at IEET if one only pays attention to the negative: the positive news right now is: when the Saudi monarchy falls, IMO we will have to go Green, what are the other options?: invading Arabia? no, we are still in Afghanistan & Iraq. America uniting with Canada so America can get ahold of Canada’s petroleum reserves? (Canada possesses 9x more oil than America does): no, doesn’t look as if America will unite with Canada any time soon. The opposition will have to tame their dislike of green, and of a black president so as to work on weaning off such an intensely petroleum-based life.

okay, you can scoff at this if you want, but I believe it is relevant to ask children why people behave certain ways, and these are the answers I got today:

Me:  What do you do at school during free play?
Daughter (age 7):  The girls do art and read, the boys never do  
      that because they think it is girly.
Me:  what do the boys do?
Daughter:  They play Leggos but mostly just wrestle and
        fight each other.
Me:  Why do the boys fight?  Are they angry?
Daughter:  No!  They just want to prove they’re the strongest.
Me:  Do the boys fight the girls too?
Daughter:  Yes.
Me:  Why?
Daughter:  They want to show that they are stronger than us.

My daughter goes to a good public school, very culturally mixed,
about 50% Asian, 25% white, 10% Middle Eastern, the rest African-American, East Indian, Hispanic, etc.  But the boys of all cultures act largely the same and the girls from all cultures act largely the same. 
I think my daughter’s answer about why boys fight is valuable, unfortunately: they want to see who is stronger.

I think that greater intelligence also means more peacefulness. In my personal experience, there seems to be a positive correlation. I’d feel more confident if there were scientific studies showing this, but i am optimistic of this. Intelligent people usually use reason rather than violence to settle disputes.

Historically, discrimination against blacks in the US is far worse than discrimination against women anywhere. Yet an African American (though not a descendant of a slave, if it makes a difference) was able to rise to the office of Presidency without (to the best of my knowledge) the help of any such legislature. I’m confident that a woman could do so as well.

That certainly is good news. The greed of the oil industry is a powerful negative force. The hatred of green and of Obama stem from greed. Green energy means lower profits for big oil. Obama wants to take away their tax cuts. Obama being black is just an auxiliary reason for the opposition to hate him.

Hank, I doubt that all of the boys (who aren’t playing with legos) say that art and reading are girly. In my experience supervising children, this isn’t the case; the boys especially like art and science. Your daughter is much more likely to notice the boys rough-housing than the ones who are drawing, painting, or reading. It’s observation bias.

Do you see boys competing against one another to see who’s stronger as an inherently bad thing? Admittedly, the schoolyard is no place for such conduct (you should be concerned that the adults supervising your daughter and her classmates allow it), but I think the competition in itself is harmless. Strength athletes, martial artists and the like do the same thing, with discipline and control. I don’t think there is anything inherently bad about physical competition. When it’s safe and controlled, it’s a fun, safe way for aggressive boys or even girls to exhaust their aggression.

Depressing Hank, very depressing. As a pretty peaceful male I have to say it brings back memories of dark schooldays.(not helped by growing up in Belfast, a violent, bigoted cesspit of a place). 

It’s things like that which sometimes make me feel like not caring if an existential risk event takes place. Maybe the machines will do something more worthwhile with their existence.

Nicer: ‘I don’t think there is anything inherently bad about physical competition.’

Depends how far it’s taken. And certainly those children whose personalities do not depend on hurting others should not be left to the mercy of bullies. It used to be thought in so-called ‘folk wisdom’ (in my book aka the ‘mindless beliefs of the past generation’) that it was good for gentler children to be on the receiving end, it would toughen them up for the rough competitive world of adulthood. But psychologists have found that children who get love and support from their parents usually grow up stronger and more secure and consequently more successful than ones that are thrown to the wolves. Hank, I would do something if your daughter and others are being victimised by little shits (pardon my French). She sould be able to learn in an environment free from aggression even at a relatively trivial level.

Let’s not forget what happened when physical competition gets out of hand between nations, eh? While not denying the value of competition in technological innovation and other areas I think it’s taken too far. I really think the values of cooperation and friendliness and dissenting in a reasonable manner are not emphasized enough especially when we live in a nuclear age (soon to be a you-can-brew-up-an-interesting-means -of-population-control-in-your-garage-age)

hi Paul—thanks for your concern.  The “fighting” is not violent, it is playful wrestling.  Well, of course, it sometimes gets out of hand and sometimes kids get hurt, but rarely.  Plus, my daughter is the biggest kid in her class and she can more than hold her own.  But my point was, why do boys do this?  And it is not just humans, if you watch kittens and puppies play, all they do is fight.  I am not sure how related to the topic it is - if it is fair to correlate childhood jousting with military adventures.  But I did want to point out that it is primarily boys in the human species that do this, and primarily boys that grow up and continue combatting in various ways.

“It’s things like that which sometimes make me feel like not caring if an existential risk event takes place. Maybe the machines will do something more worthwhile with their existence.”

That’s a troubling statement, Paul. I think there are plenty of humans that do worthwhile things with their lives. I hope you won’t let the antics of schoolyard bullies convince you to condemn humanity.

Paul, I put emphasis on control and discipline in physical competition. I’m certainly not condoning bullying. Hank should indeed address the issue at his daughter’s school for the safety of his daughter and her classmates. These aggressive children need their energy directed elsewhere.

Competition between nations is hardly physical today. One can simply send in a drone strike to destroy one’s perceived enemies. That’s about as far removed from physical competition as it gets.

Hank, I’m glad that you acknowledged that.

We evolved in a pretty violent place. Male-pattern aggression had evolutionary value, thus it is biologically ingrained. In modern society male-pattern aggression is maladaptive. Children affected by it need help controlling it, and directing their energies elsewhere.

I’d bet that there are relatively few actual bullies among the boys at your daughter’s school. I’d bet the bulk of them are defending against “alphas” among them. Backing down is a hard choice for even a peaceful yet assertive male to make; it invites ridicule and further bullying.

I wonder if your daughter has ever experienced female bullies. These I am familiar with. In my experience, female bullies take a totally different approach, which can be equally as harmful. They prey on the psyche, on one’s self-esteem.

May I ask critics a hypothetical question?

Suppose an expert panel were to consider the proposal in depth. The panel conclude that electing an all-women political leadership would lead to a statistically significant reduction in the risk of war.

How large - or small - do you think such a reduction in global catastrophic risk would need to be to outweigh the costs?
(e.g. the reduction in career opportunities for males who would otherwise have gone into national politics)

May I ask David another hypothetical question?

Suppose an expert panel were to consider another proposal in depth. The panel conclude that killing all men would lead to a statistically significant reduction in the risk of war.

How large - or small - do you think such a reduction in global catastrophic risk would need to be to outweigh the costs?
(e.g. the death of all men who would otherwise live a full and perhaps good life).

David, I know that you mean well, but some things like basic civil rights and the basic principles of democracy are non-negotiable. In a democracy, all citizen without a criminal record can run for office, and all citizens who wish to vote for them can do so. I vote to keep civil rights and democracy.

Global catastrophic risk and war aren’t exactly the same. There’s a reason nations haven’t been using nukes in armed conflict since proliferation began.

Of course even a small risk reduction is significant, but honestly, David, even if the benefits largely outweighed the negative affects (I don’t think they would), I doubt this would be implemented, and not just because of the objections of male would-be politicians. Anyone who has a strong belief in equality would oppose such a measure on the grounds of gender discrimination, despite the risk reduction.

The best analogy I can think of is this: if there was a mandate that all people who are infected with incurable transmissible diseases were to be excluded from the rest of humanity for the remainder of their lives, the spread of these diseases would virtually halt, potentially saving millions of lives. But instead, we look for cures to the diseases, despite the risk, because the former is a violation of the rights of those people.

Male hegemony, which is deteriorating, is ‘tolerated’ only because it arose naturally. Now, people rightly seek to end it. Female hegemony would also be undesirable, for many of the same reasons.

I think its much bigger than reducing job opportunities for males. Males would become worldwide second class citizens, like many women are presently in various parts of the world. A juxtaposition of injustice is still injustice.

Giulio, I am genuinely interested in your answer - and indeed the answer of any critic who thinks the status quo is preferable.

If the proposal we elect an all-women executive and legislature entailed abrogating basic civil rights and the basic principles of democracy, then I would be opposed -  just like you. But that isn’t the scenario under discussion. Rather the question is whether a majority of men and women alike should have the democratically expressed right to enact such a safeguard if a statistically significant reduction in the risk of war is indeed judged likely. Without broad consent, the proposal won’t work.

My best guess is neither the proposal nor anything like it will be implemented - and hundreds of millions of people will die in war this century. Whether this is more than a coincidence will presumably never be tested.

David, I am not in favor of the status quo, and I don’t think Giulio is either. There is a middle ground between male hegemony and female hegemony.

I think you fail to realize that preventing men from holding office on the grounds that they are male is a violation of their civil rights. If it was decided, ‘democratically’ to the revoke the civil rights of any human population, I would oppose it. As Guilio said, it is not negotiable.

Doom-saying will not solve anything, nor should it sway anyone’s beliefs. Electing responsible, compassionate leadership is the only solution. There are members of all genders with these qualities. I don’t understand why this is hard for you to accept. A multi-gendered world leadership of peaceful rulers would reduce war more than a mono-gendered world leadership.

There are three reasons to reject your proposal. One, as you admit, it is unlikely to work. Two, as you also admit, it is unjust. Lastly, which you have yet to admit, there is a better solution.

A take on intersex wrestling, by America’s Scolding Rightist Auntie:

It is being proven already today that nations that have female leadership are more “peaceful”—I wrote about this in my previous article entitled “Feminism’s Social Side Effects.”

here’s the link and the list of the world’s most peaceful nations

Top Ten Nations in Peace (Global Peace Index)

New Zealand









#1 New Zealand has two female state leaders, one from each of its main political parties. #2 Iceland presently has the world’s first lesbian prime minister.  #3 Japan and #4 Austria are interesting because they have both suffered immensely via male-induced warfare to now value peace.  Norway is ranked #3 in the world in women’s rights with a law stating that 40% of all appointed state ministers must be women.  Ireland has elected two consecutive women as heads of state.  Denmark is ranked #7 internationally in women’s equality.  Finland has BOTH a female president and a female prime minister.  Either electing women leads to peace, or peace leads to electing women.  The USA is not on either list as either a peaceful nation, or as a leader in advancing women’s rights.

Nicer, I think we need to be very careful indeed before inferring nuclear war is unlikely since it hasn’t happened to date. For example, despite sometimes coming hair-raisingly close to Armageddon (cf. The Cuban Missile Crisis etc), it’s not surprising we don’t live in a world where there has been a full scale strategic interchange between the superpowers. This is because we wouldn’t be around to talk about it (cf. the role of anthropic selection effects in post-Everett quantum mechanics.)

“The USA is not on either list as either a peaceful nation, or as a leader in advancing women’s rights.”

The GOP has a death grip on American politics, only offering Palin as an alternative to patriarchy—though Palin is no pacifist.


Thank you for the information, Hank. Have you considered alongside your other hypothesis that those statistics also show that greater equality equals greater peace, accounting for the increase in the frequency of female leadership? That’s what I see when I look at the data. It appears to me that peace is not only the result of feminism, but of egalitarianism.

If it weren’t for the Bush administration, perhaps America would be on it’s way to making this list.

David, I may be flat out wrong, but if the anthropic principle and the many worlds theory are both true, we don’t really have anything to worry about, do we?


‘That’s a troubling statement, Paul. I think there are plenty of humans that do worthwhile things with their lives. I hope you won’t let the antics of schoolyard bullies convince you to condemn humanity.’

Nicer, the problem is while many people do good things, it is often negated by a large factor by the actions of grown-up schoolyard bullies (eg the situation in Burma). As the Bard put it (approximately) ‘the ill that men do lives on after them, the good is oft interred with their bones’.

‘Competition between nations is hardly physical today. One can simply send in a drone strike to destroy one’s perceived enemies. That’s about as far removed from physical competition as it gets.’

Well, the end result is a physical tearing up of flessh and bone.
Psychologists argue that the remoteness of the result from the instigator makes it easier to kill and destroy.

below is from the article “Demonic Males” that David has referred to - it describes male chimpanzee gang warfare behavior

————— Godi had chosen to eat alone. A mistake.

By the time he saw the eight intruders they were already at his tree. He leapt and ran, but his pursuers raced after him, the front three side by side. Humphrey got to him first, grabbing a leg. Godi, unbalanced, toppled at once. Humphrey jumped on him. Leaning with his full weight, pinning his opponent like a wrestler, holding down two of his limbs, Humphrey immobilized him. Godi lay helpless, his face crushed into the dirt.

While Humphrey held, the other males attacked. They were hugely excited, screaming and charging. The adult males pummeled his shoulder blades and back. The adolescent watched from a distance. The female, Gigi, screamed and circled around the attack…

After ten minutes Humphrey let go of Godi’s legs. The others stopped hitting him. Godi lay face down in the mud while a great rock was hurled toward him. Then, still wild with excitement, the attackers hurried deeper into the Kahama territory, hooting and charging…
Godi, slowly raising himself, screaming with fear and anguish, watched his tormentors go. There were appalling wounds on his face, body, and limbs. He was heavily bruised. He bled from dozens of gashes, cuts, and punctures…

He may have lived on for a few days, perhaps a week or two. But he surely died.

It is interesting to me that female did not participate

Let’s do it.

Accelerating the collapse of civilization is the only way to get to rebuilding it sooner.

And the mobs will hang men like David Pearce.

Also see “The Misandry Bubble” for why.


First I like the idea of the transhuman movement and I think it will probably happen… but the movement itself draws lots of self hating people who are unhappy with their lives and would like to use magic sci-fi technology to change themselves. I am going to guess that Pearce is gender dysphoric and he see’s himself as a woman in the new world order.

2nd… The UK proves that this is dead wrong. During the first gulf war we had Queen Elizabeth as our head of State and Margaret Thatcher as our head of Government (both obviously women). When Iraq invaded Kuwait it was Thatcher who drove the war forward… hell she was the person that convinced Bush that war was the right thing to do (in her ‘No time to get wobbly’ conversation).

This entire idea is based on outdated gender roles.

When the first world war started it was the suffragettes who were giving out white feathers to shame men into going to war.

Leper, I won’t address here your novel interpretation of the causes of the First World War. But it goes against the consensus of the professional historians in the field.

Gender dysphoria? Sad to say, I am all too gender-bound. One of my earliest memories is of learning from my reincarnation-believing mother that next time I might be reborn as a girl. This prospect struck my five-year old namesake as too horrible even to contemplate. The roots of prejudice run deep.

Um…. what?

The white feather movement was simply a example of how women are anything but peaceful not the cause of the first world war.

But hey by bringing it up you nicely dodged the examples of women leaders who are warlike. So that’s something.

@leper.  If you take the time to actually read my article, you will discover that the most recent example of female leaders ending war took place in LIberia.  There is also a large photo that depicts this.  I know you are part of the anti-feminist crowd that isn’t going to be persuaded to agree with David, but still, if you want to comment on my article, you should do more than just read the headline.

yes! forget conjecture and consider the REAL LIVE matriarchy of the mosuo in china. the women are in charge and everyone is happy.

Hank, you really need to learn the differenece between causation and correlation.  Those peaceful countries you listed have been peaceful for many decades, even before second wave feminism. Several of them were even neutral in the second world war. How you can seriously attribute Japan’s ‘peace’ ranking to the benefits of female leadership?  Japan has not been at war because it was close to destroyed, and millions of its citizens turned to cinder, in the last one it fought.  Apart from the small fact that the Victorious allies forced Japan to write a constitution forbidding its military to act abroad.

As somebody with a keen interest (and hope) in trans-humanism, I can understand the arguments that the human ape only needs to survive for a few more decades without destroying itself and our planet, and then every possibility in the universe, quite literally, will be open to us.  From that point of view, being subjected to a corrupt gynocratic global government for a century might be a rational thing to accept, if it means we can get to post-humanism and a possible singularity before we have nuked ourselves.  However, the assumptions you’re making about the supposed angelic nature of women and the independently violent and beastial nature of men are absurd and quite sickening to many people.

I’ve read the Hedonistic Imperative and I think David Pearce’s vision of a post human future without pain for all sentient beings is quite beautiful and inspirational.  However, I’m saddened to learn that his philosophy appears to be founded on such a naieve view of how the world works.

At the end of the day, why is it acceptable for you to say such things about men that you would go to prison for saying about Jews or blacks?

I am unsubscribing my email from this thread which I find more and more boring.

I am against patriarchy, matriarchy and every -archy which creates artificial divisions between first-class and second-class citizens.

The gender war which has been re-proposed in this thread is an example of the us-vs-them, good-vs-bad, righteous-vs-sinner mentality which has caused so many atrocities. _THIS_ is the cause of bloodshed, not gender traits.

As far as I am concerned, we are all brothers and sister, and equal citizens with equal rights. Or at least we should be, and this is my simple recipe for a better world. Let’s not even think of moving in the backward direction.

@antifeminist—I am glad, and I am sure that David is also glad, that you appreciated his Hedonistic Imperative.  I am also happy that you have a keen interest in transhumanism.

My article suggests a way “that might” reduce catastrophic annihilation of humanity.  We have had a wonderful debate here about whether or not women-only rule would indeed reduce warfare.  Readers have also been polled for their opinions, you can read the results of that at the very top of the home page.

I never said that Japan’s high rating in peace was the result of feminism.  I said that the majority of the nations on the peace list were also feminist, but Japan is not one of them.  I agree with you on your comment that Japan’s high rating in peace is due to the catastrophic consequences it suffered in WWII.

Thank you for your continued interest in IEET’s articles.  I will be publishing “non-feminist” articles in the near future here and I am curious to get your opinion.

@lumi—thanks for mentioning the Mosuo—a link for that matriarchal group is here:

I’m coming at this discussion late so forgive me for not having read all the comments. In any case it’s a fascinating discussion. I think I would summarize my thoughts on the subject as follows.

1. I tend to buy the idea that men are (on average) congenitally more (physically) aggressive than women. We also tend to like machines, and blowing things up, and are relatively weak on empathy (more towards the autism end of the autism-hysteria spectrum, if there is such a thing). All this points in the direction of supporting David’s proposal.

2. On the other hand, as David said in one of his earlier comments there are many variables, and I think he dismisses Giulio’s comments about civil rights too easily. If we start discriminating against men on gender grounds in relation to leadership positions, or even requiring disclosure of DNA, why not gender-discriminate in relation to other professions? This just goes too much against the considerable achievements we’ve made in relation to gender equality.

3. The fact that so many men on this blog are talking about how to be peaceful also rather weakens the case that male leaders are necessarily going to be more warlike. And context *is* important: think Abu Graib and the Stanford prison experiment.

In summary I think the proposal is probably undesirable as well as unrealistic, but it does lead me to another question, actually three: (1) do we need to do more to get women into leadership positions generally? (2) are there still structural obstacles (male-dominated culture leading to unconscious biases) preventing this from happening? (3) has women’s lib been even been going backwards recently, as some of my closest (female) friends believe?

Right now I’m reading
Disturbing stuff. Not everyone here thinks catastrophic thermonuclear war is likely this century. But when I wrote the original note on Hank’s FB Wall, I was musing purely on technical ways to reduce global catastrophic risk and existential risk. Thus if an expert study group were to conclude that there are no grounds for supposing electing all-women leadership - and the sea-change in political culture entailed - would lead to a statistically significant reduction in the risk of war, then I wouldn’t support the proposal - it’s not about radical feminism, political correctness, “gender war”, etc. If, on the other hand, a statistically significant reduction in risk can be anticipated, then men and women alike would be well advised to elect our representatives accordingly. Without broad democratic consent, the proposal couldn’t possibly work. Risk reduction is in all our interests, men and women alike. Unfortunately, in the ancestral environment of adaptation, waging war was often genetically adaptive for males because of the optimal reproductive strategy for men differed from the optimal reproductive strategy for women. Selection pressure ensured that this male biological propensity for competitive risk-taking, territorial aggrandizement and violent aggression has endured into the present era. Hence the threat of nuclear Armageddon.

Anyhow, I hope I’m wrong and Giulio’s idealism is right: “We are all brothers and sisters, and equal citizens with equal rights. Or at least we should be, and this is my simple recipe for a better world.”

Valkyrie Ice and Hank,

I read ‘The Misandry Bubble’, and found it to be reasonable.  I am not sure where Valkyrie gets the notion that he wants to enslave women.  In fact he says that feminism harms women (which it does, at this point).

Which particular sentences in that essay does Valkyrie find objectionable?  Which sentences does Valkyrie approve of?

That is one of the more moderate essays out there.  Maybe Valkyrie Ice should do more to read :


A question though: how would the expert study group come to it’s conclusion? What is the experiment one could perform to test this hypothesis?

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