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Everybody who reads my blog knows that I’m a libertarian. But what are some of the unpopular non-political opinions I hold? Here’s my list:

  • Most people can’t think clearly because their hearts aren’t pure.
  • It is much easier to read, research, bookmark, share and write on modern gadgets. The best books on the internet are incomparably better than almost anything you’d find at the local bookstore.
  • It is much easier to read on Kindle.
  • The best blog posts are better than anything you will ever read in The New Yorker. Continue Reading
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My favorite Naipaul story has sexist undertones. My mother doesn’t like me arguing when my father is driving. This is not because that’d distract him. She just doesn’t like it. She usually changes the subject or turn silent when I argue. Or she looks here and there. When I ask why, she wouldn’t answer, or say that she knows I’m wrong. Women hate arguments. Usually, when their husbands debate me on some abstract topic, women ask them to stop. They won’t say this, but they see debates as a sign of conflict. It took me so many years to see this. Continue Reading

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alia_bhatt_4_0There were many news stories on women making false rape accusations against men, in the recent past. When this happens, most people assume that this might be rare. Why would a woman do this? Of course, in offices, what happens often can at best be expressed along these lines: The office harlot’s attempt to nail a man, again, fell flat. Then all the contemptible mediocrities that were hiding behind the rocks for long, seething with resentment, came crawling out to ruin the superior man—to get closure.

Many columnists have pointed out that it is unfair to shift the burden of the proof to the accused, in a rape case. But, how would we know whether there should be a strong presumption in favor of the “victim” or not? Find out how common false accusations are. That seems to be the only way there is. A typical scenario:

“The ‘Rohtak Sisters’  is a curious case which started with a video upload showing the two sisters beating eve-teasers in a public transport bus. Hyped by the media, these sisters were hailed as brave hearts who fought back against sexual abuse. Haryana Government even announced that the girls will be honored on the occasion of Republic Day. Few days later a second video was released which showed these sisters beating another guy in Public Park for not so clear reasons. And then local witnesses started giving statements against these sisters blaming them of occasionally harassing and falsely accusing men of sexual abuse.”

Deepika Narayan Bharadwaj tries to find out the truth here.

Now, contra feminist dogma, evolutionary psychologists have always known that a man being victimized by rumors, gossip and ostracism, and manipulation of public opinion is very common. It is fashionable to say that there “ought to be” a change in the attitude of sexist Indian men. But then, how would we define primitivism? A primitive man rejects facts without giving it the fair hearing it deserves. The feminists are guilty here, not the lone, sane voices.

From A Natural History Of Rape:

“Women have evolved to compete for limited resources and mates not so much by direct physical aggression as by indirect and low-cost (relative to physical aggression) means. In fact, research shows that in social competition human females use a sophisticated suite of indirect, low-cost tactics. Girls and women, relative to boys and men, tell more false stories about adversaries, gossip about them, start rumors about them, and use ostracism and manipulation of public opinion as tactics. We know of no studies of social knowledge that males and females differ in these ways, but we predict that such studies would reveal that such knowledge exists. Thus, the requirement for corroboration in rape cases may reflect, in part, evolved knowledge of the tactics females may use in social competition. We suggest, also, that people are especially concerned about the credibility of women’s allegations when sex is involved. As we have mentioned, people everywhere understand sex to be something that women have and that men want. This intuition about social life arises from the sex difference in minimum investment necessary for the production of offspring. That males want sex itself appears to have selected, in human evolutionary history, for females who used sex and promises of sex to manipulate men and get resources from them. Clearly, women behave this way far more often than men. Studies reveal that, relative to men, women seem to be more deceitful about their sexual interest in individuals of the opposite sex, about sexual arousal, and about personal sexual history (e.g., claiming to have had fewer partners than the actual number). Studies also suggest that women are more deceitful with respect to mateship infidelity. Thus, especially when sex is involved (as it is in rape), there may be an evolved intuition that women sometimes lie for their own gain. This is not to say that men don’t lie about sexual matters. They obviously do, and presumably for personal gain, because a high number of sex partners is associated with high status and high self-esteem in men, and not in women. However, social intuition about women’s use of sexual allegations, in combination with their use of low-cost competitive tactics, may lead to skepticism and to reluctance to judge in favor of a woman who “cries rape.” False rape allegations have received little systematic study. To some feminists, the concept of false rape allegation itself constitutes discriminatory harassment. However, a careful study of 109 rape cases in the United States found 41 percent of rape accusations to be false as evidenced by the women’s own recantations. The women studied gave three reasons for their false reports: providing an alibi for a consensual sexual encounter that might have led to pregnancy, seeking revenge against a rejecting consensual male partner, and obtaining sympathy and attention from kin and/or friends. Kanin emphasizes that false rape allegations “reflect desperate efforts to cope with personal and social stress situations”.

Scott Alexander has some of the best arguments I have ever read on this, and a good guesstimate:

“Many scholars critique the police’s judgment, suggesting many police officers automatically dismiss anyone who doesn’t fit their profile of a “typical rape victim”. A police-based study that took pains to avoid this failure mode by investigating all cases very aggressively (Kanin 1994) was criticized for what I think are ideological reasons – they primarily seemed to amount to the worry that the aggressive investigations stigmatized rape victims, which would make them so flustered that they would falsely recant. Certainly possible. On the other hand, if you dismiss studies for not investigating thoroughly enough and for investigating thoroughly, there will never be any study you can’t dismiss. So while not necessarily endorsing Kanin and the similar studies in this range, I think they make a useful “not provably true” upper bound to contrast with the “near-provably false” lower bound of 2%-10%. But this only represents the number of false rape accusations that get reported to the police. 80% of rapes never make it to the police. Might false rape accusations be similar? Suppose you are a woman who wants to destroy a guy’s reputation for some reason. Do you go to the police station, open up a legal case, get yourself tested with an invasive rape kit, hire an attorney, put yourself through a trial which may take years and involve your reputation being dragged through the mud, accept that you probably won’t get a conviction anyway given that you have no evidence – and take the risk of jail time if you’re caught lying? Or do you walk to the other side of the quad and bring it up to your school administrator, who has just declared to the national news that she thinks all men accused of rape should be automatically expelled from the college, without any investigation, regardless of whether there is any evidence? Or if even the school administrator isn’t guilty-until-proven-innocent enough for you, why not just go to a bunch of your friends, tell them your ex-boyfriend raped you, and trust them to spread the accusation all over your community? Then it doesn’t even matter whether anyone believes you or not, the rumor is still out there. This last one is the one that happened to me. I wasn’t the ex-boyfriend (thank God). I was the friend who was told about it. I took it very very seriously, investigated as best I could, and eventually became extremely confident that the accusation was false. No, you don’t know the people involved. No, I won’t give you personal details. No, I won’t tell you how I became certain that the accusation was false because that would involve personal details. Yes, that leaves you a lot of room to accuse me of lying if you want. So I know three men who have been accused of rape in a way that did not involve the police, and none (as far as I know) who have been accused in a way that did. This suggests that like rapes themselves, most false rape accusations never reach law enforcement. While rape victims have some incentives to report their cases to the police – a desire for justice, a desire for safety, the belief that the evidence will support them – false accusers have very strong incentives not to – too much work, easier revenge through other means, knowledge that the evidence is unlikely to support them, fear of getting in trouble for perjury if their deception gets out. So I consider it a very conservative estimate to say that the ratio of unreported to reported false accusations is 4:1 – the same as it is with rapes. A more realistic estimate might be as high as double or triple that.”

Today, we have mail archives, chat logs and CCTV footages. Many false accusations and selective representations of reality are harder to maintain. Many such women won’t get very far. But, does that matter?

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Just me, and this boots! :*
Just me, and this boots!

Women are sex objects. I do not know why it is wrong to “objectify” women. If a publisher uses my intelligence to make money, is he “objectifying” me? But any writer would love to claim that it is his brains that did it for him. If a writer is—and even expected to be—proud of his high IQ, why do feminists expect women to be ashamed of their bodies? Both are innate and fairly stable over one’s lifetime. If someone shares an article of mine on Twitter saying, “OMG! Shanu’s brilliant article.”, I won’t lash out against them for granting people a glimpse into my brain. I don’t think feminists understand the implications of their claims. As Murray Rothbard once observed:

“One motif now permeating the entire movement is a strident opposition to men treating women as “sex objects.” This supposedly demeaning, debasing, and exploitative treatment extends from pornography to beauty contests, to advertisements of pretty models using a product, all the way to wolf whistles and admiring glances at girls in miniskirts. But surely the attack on women as “sex objects” is simply an attack on sex, period, or rather, on hetero-sex. These new monsters of the female gender are out to destroy the lovely and age-old custom—delighted in by normal women the world over—of women dressing to attract men and succeeding at this pleasant task. What a dull and dreary world these termagants would impose upon us! A world where all girls look like unkempt wrestlers, where beauty and attractiveness have been replaced by ugliness and “unisex,” where delightful femininity has been abolished on behalf of raucous, aggressive, and masculine feminism.

Jealousy of pretty and attractive girls does, in fact, lie close to the heart of this ugly movement. One point that should be noted, for example, in the alleged economic discrimination against women: the fantastic upward mobility, as well as high incomes, available to the strikingly pretty girl. The Women’s Libs may claim that models are exploited, but if we consider the enormous pay that the models enjoy—as well as their access to the glamorous life—and compare it with their opportunity cost foregone in other occupations such as waitress or typist—the charge of exploitation is laughable indeed.

Male models, whose income and opportunities are far lower than those of females, might well envy the privileged female position! Furthermore, the potential for upward mobility for pretty, lower-class girls is enormous, infinitely more so than for lower-class men: we might cite Bobo Rockefeller and Gregg Sherwood Dodge (a former pin-up model who married the multimillionaire scion of the Dodge family) as merely conspicuous examples. But these cases, far from counting as an argument against them, arouse the female liberationists to still greater fury, since one of their real complaints is against those more attractive girls who by virtue of their attractiveness have been more successful in the inevitable competition for men—a competition that must exist whatever the form of government or society (provided, of course, that it remains heterosexual).

Woman as “sex objects”? Of course they are sex objects and, praise the Lord, they always will be. (Just as men, of course, are sex objects to women.) As for the wolf whistles, it is impossible for any meaningful relationship to be established on the street or by looking at ads, and so in these roles women properly remain solely as sex objects. When deeper relationships are established between men and women, they each become more than sex objects to each other; they each hopefully become love objects as well. It would seem banal even to bother mentioning this, but in today’s increasingly degenerate intellectual climate no simple truths can any longer be taken for granted.

Contrast to the strident women’s liberationists the charming letter in the New York Sunday Times  by Susan L. Peck, commenting on the Brownmiller article. After asserting that she, for one, welcomes male admiration, Mrs. Peck states that “To some this might sound square, but I do not harbor a mad, vindictive desire to see my already hardworking, responsible husband doing the household ironing.”

After decrying the female maladjustment exhibited in the “liberation movement,” Mrs. Peck  oncludes: “I, for one, adore men and I’d rather see than be one!” Hooray and hopefully Mrs. Peck speaks for the silent majority of American womanhood.

Professor Leonard P. Liggio has brought to my attention two vitally important points in explaining why the women’s lib agitation has emerged at this time from within the New Left. The first is that the New Left women were wont to sleep promiscuously with the males in the movement and found to their shock and dismay that they were not being treated as more than mere “sex objects.” In short, after lacking the selfrespect to treat themselves as more than sex objects, these New Left women found to their dismay that the men were treating them precisely as they regarded themselves! Instead of realizing that their own promiscuous behavior was at the root of the problem, these women bitterly blamed the men, and Women’s Liberation was born.”

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Tarun Tejpal married at the age of twenty one. Feminists and liberals probably think this is irrelevant. In their eyes, women are helpless pawns. Men pull the strings of the world. But this cannot be true. A talented man who marries in his twenties has a difficult row to hoe.  When he marries, he is usually a nobody. It is in all likelihood an unequal marriage, but often more so, retrospectively. When he becomes successful, usually around 30, his wife has become plumper, with two children. She is no longer too interested in sex. Human nature being what it is, she is also a terrible human being. He no longer values the creature that once walked away as if she bought The Fountainhead at a bargain price—because it’d make better wrapping paper. But I do not know what is worse.

He stays in the marriage, for his children. There is nothing in it for him, physically or spiritually. He probably married her when he he battled loneliness every hour of his life—-when he was surrounded by people he would have hauled out of his drawing room if he had a choice—when he felt paralyzed seeing again and again that people failed to see what he found obvious, even when he had explained patiently, down to the last detail—when he searched desperately for an ounce of morality, an ounce of intelligence in the people he worked with, and could not find. Continue Reading

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Don’t be a clown. Take women seriously.

“I know personally several couples where the wife is a militant liberationist and the husband has been brainwashed by his spouse to be an Uncle Tom and a traitor to his gender.  In all these cases, after a long hard day at the office or at teaching to support the family, the husband sits at home tending the kids while the wife is out at Women’s Lib meetings, there to plot their accession to total power and to denounce their husbands as sexist oppressors. Not content with the traditional mah-jongg set, the New Woman is reaching for the final castrating blow-to be accepted, I suppose, with meek gratitude by their male-liberal spouses. It has been noted for years-and especially by Europeans and Asians – that too many American men live in a matriarchy, dominated first by Momism, then by female teachers, and then by their wives.”-Murray Rothbard, Against Women’s Liberation

“The feminist critique started when some women systematically looked up at the top of society and saw men everywhere: most world rulers, presidents, prime ministers, most members of Congress and parliaments, most CEOs of major corporations, and so forth — these are mostly men. Seeing all this, the feminists thought, wow, men dominate everything, so society is set up to favor men. It must be great to be a man. The mistake in that way of thinking is to look only at the top. If one were to look downward to the bottom of society instead, one finds mostly men there too. Who’s in prison, all over the world, as criminals or political prisoners? The population on Death Row has never approached 51% female. Who’s homeless? Again, mostly men. Whom does society use for bad or dangerous jobs? US Department of Labor statistics report that 93% of the people killed on the job are men. Likewise, who gets killed in battle? Even in today’s American army, which has made much of integrating the sexes and putting women into combat, the risks aren’t equal. This year we passed the milestone of 3,000 deaths in Iraq, and of those, 2,938 were men, 62 were women.”-Roy F Baumeister, Is There Anything Good About Men? Continue Reading

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He’d be really happy to sit down and spend four or five hours explaining college football statistics to you.

“I am the first to admit that libertarians are quirky. Asperger’s is definitely overrepresented in the community, and with it, various nerdy obsessions.  Spend a bunch of time around libertarian guys and you’re apt to learn a lot about music, and comic books, and action movies, and computer programming. A lot.  He could lend you a book, if you want. And he’d be really happy to sit down and spend four or five hours explaining college football statistics to you.  Do you want that alphabetically, or north to south?  My personal empirical research indicates that in fact, libertarians make great boyfriends and husbands (though my sample size on the latter is pretty small).  The ones I’ve dated have actually been super considerate, and very concerned with pulling their own weight, though I couldn’t say whether this is random chance, or the natural outgrowth of a value system that emphasizes voluntary, mutually beneficial cooperation. The worst louse I ever dated was a bleeding-heart liberal.”Megan Mcardle, The Daily Beast (Awww.)

“There aren’t more female libertarians because libertarians say things exactly like this. Nearly every female libertarian we know can tell stories about being told, “Women aren’t really equipped to understand libertarianism. It’s a biological thing.” Or “Of course women are statists. They all just want to be taken care of.” Or “Women’s brains just can’t do economics.” Or “Women’s right to vote ruined the country.” Now Borowski has added yet another insult to the pile.”Sarah Skwire, Bleeding Heart Libertarians Continue Reading

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Internet pornography leads to a decrease in the number of rape incidents. This is true. Academics have been studying this for a while. But, there is no corresponding decline in other crimes like theft or murder. Why? Madhavan of the Open Magazine, a reasonably smart guy, has an explanation:

“Porn might fuel positive attitudes towards women. The 2011 Scientific American article said, ‘Although consumers of pornography did not display more negative attitudes toward women, they were more likely than other respondents to believe that women should be protected from harm—what the investigators call “benevolent sexism”. All these might sound counter-intuitive and, for feminists, also offensive. But most of these studies are by hardnosed academics with no hidden ideology and have used tested empirical methods.”

Unlike the journalists who look at academic literature in a way not too unlike how savages look at money, this gentleman does not fear academics. But, why is this the obvious explanation? Perhaps the obvious explanation is that pornography satisfies an important need of men, and reduces the urge to commit serious crimes for sex? If sex is primarily motivated by sexual desire, isn’t this the most obvious explanation? David Friedman observes: Continue Reading

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Gavin and Anna collected toys and Anna was a big admirer of his StarWars collection.

“I went to college. You are saying that girls shouldn’t be “followed”. Who among us has not “followed” girls? When you want to talk to a woman, she might not be willing at first. You have to put in a lot of effort. It is the same all over the country.” 

These are not my words, and you probably know this because this is not my style. Sharad Yadav, an intelligent fellow from Bihar said this in the Loksabha a few months ago.

How did our feminists respond to this?  “I’ve never been so demoralized in my entire life. It was a one-sided, biased, male-dominated debate. It was shameful.”, Vrinda Gover, a human rights lawyer said. “It’s almost a good thing that Lok Sabha TV isn’t on our favorites list usually. Because, if you were to see and hear who runs our country, who takes decisions, who contests them, you would probably feel safer in the Sunderbans than in your own homes,”, another lady said. Continue Reading

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Vitamins, Darling! I always get my vitamins.

I still remember my first day in primary school. The “male chauvinists” in my class insisted that they will not be sitting with the girls anymore. I was the only boy who was willing to sit with them. I have always had a very exact mind, a mind that took words literally, a mind that judged an idea on its own merits. The other boys said, “If you love them so much, why don’t you kiss them?” I sat there, feeling alienated—feeling cut off.

I was convinced that this “attitude” was transmitted from father to son, but the Indian economy was at the cusp of liberalization. I felt that it would take a few more years for the country to undermine, and eventually wreck the remnants of the patriarchal culture. But, I was wrong. On my first day in middle school, I walked into the classroom, and found a place without noticing that there were separate rows for girls. The girls looked at me with intense disapproval, and said that my handwriting was “very bad”. It hurt me so much. Continue Reading

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Women! Know your place.

I like women. If you are a man, I won’t even talk to you, unless you can talk nerdy. But, if you are a girl, you just have to have a decent IQ. And you have to read books. When a girl once asked me, “Why do you talk to me? The guy who sits there told me that he tried to talk to you. But, you did not look interested.” I smiled politely, thinking, “I did not notice. But, you did not notice that he is a guy either, did you? Precisely my point.”

But, I suppose almost everyone likes women these days. I know an IIT-IIM guy who campaigns for the rights of men who are cuckolded. Even the men who agree with him find him a laughing stock. If “bad attitude” is part and parcel of our culture, how do you know whether people are prejudiced against you? You know it when you start talking about the “bad attitude” of other people and hear almost everyone saying, “Tough Luck”.

I have been thinking about sexism for a while. I think the problem is not sexism. What matters is candor, rationality and respect for human heterogeneity. Who, among men or women lacks these valuable traits? I am not going to tell you. Continue Reading