Unfortunately, feminism and future is an oxymoron (or fortunately, depending on your point-of-view), as it seems to be unsustainable on the long run.
Based on past history, it appears that a civilization that embraces feminist values will cease to exist in just a few centuries. This is why we have never seen a feminist civilization aside from very short spans at the end of the Roman empire and possibly a few other more ancient civilizations.
Reading the history of the Roman Empire brings such glaring similarities with our own civilization, it is as if human social dynamics are literally stuck in a cycle that repeats every couple thousand years (there were two matriarchical, extremely advanced civilizations: one at the end of the Roman empire, 2000 years ago, one possibly at the end of Babylon, 4000 years ago).
For those who enjoy history, here is a short recap of social changes in Rome, 2 millenia ago (most historians focus on military and political facts, but I find the social aspects just as fascinating):
- ~5 century BC: Roman civilization is a a strong patriarchy, fathers are liable for the actions of their wife and children, and have absolute authority over the family (including the power of life and death)
- ~1 century BC: Roman civilization blossoms into the most powerful and advanced civilization in the world. Material wealth is astounding, citizens (i.e.: non slaves) do not need to work. They have running water, baths and import spices from thousands of miles away. The Romans enjoy the arts and philosophy; they know and appreciate democracy, commerce, science, human rights, animal rights, children rights and women become emancipated. No-fault divorce is enacted, and quickly becomes popular by the end of the century.
- ~1-2 century AD: The family unit is destroyed. Men refuse to marry and the government tries to revive marriage with a “bachelor tax”, to no avail. Children are growing up without fathers, Roman women show little interest in raising their own children and frequently use nannies. The wealth and power of women grows very fast, while men become increasingly demotivated and engage in prostitution and vice. Prostitution and homosexuality become widespread.
- ~3-4 century AD: A moral and demographic collapse takes place, Roman population declines due to below-replacement birth-rate. Vice and massive corruption are rampant, while the new-born Catholic Religion is gaining power (it becomes the religion of the Empire in 380 AD). There is extreme economic, political and military instability: there are 25 successive emperors in half a century (many end up assassinated), the Empire is ungovernable and on the brink of civil war.
- ~5 century AD: The Empire is ruled by an elite of military men that use the Emperor as a puppet; due to massive debts and financial problems, the Empire cannot afford to hire foreign mercenaries to defend itself (Roman citizens have long ago being replaced by mercenaries in the army), and starts “selling” parts of the Empire in exchange for protection. Eventually, the mercenaries figure out that the “Emperor has no clothes”, and overrun and pillage the Empire.
- humanity falls back into the Bronze Age (think: eating squirrel meat and living in a cave); 12 centuries of religious zilotry (The Great Inquisition, Crusades) and intellectual darkness follow: science, commerce, philosophy, human rights become unknown concepts until they are rediscovered again during the Age of Enlightenment in 17th century AD.
Regarding the Babylonian civilization (~2,000 BC), we have relatively few records, but we do know that they had a very advanced civilization because we found their legislative code written down on stone tablets (yes, they had laws and tribunals, and some of today’s commercial code can even be traced back to Babylonian law). They had child support laws (which seems to indicate that there was a family breakdown), and they collapsed presumably due to a “moral breakdown” figuratively represented in the Bible as the “Tower of Babel” (which was inspired by a real tower). Interesting and controversial anecdote: some claim that the Roman Catholic Religion is nothing more than a rewriting and adaptation of an ancient Babylonian religion!
You might say Roman cultural elites experienced Robin Hanson’s switch from a farmer to a forager society. How’d that turn out for everyone?
Let’s examine the parallels more closely.
~5 century BC Rome = ~1700 – 1920 America. The family unit is essentially “father knows best”, and slutting around by women is considered the height of shameful behavior, (as is cadding about by men). Monogamy is held up as the ideal arrangement without exception. (The “Wild West” might be an exception to the general rule of the day, as whoring and hell-raising were widespread in the frontier.) Lessers look up to their betters as exemplars of moral rectitude.
~1 century BC Rome = ~1920 – 1970 America. America is rising to the height of her power, a hyperpower being born. An economic and military power heretofore unseen in all recorded history. While the world digs out from under the rubble of consecutive wars and Communist pogroms, we have a battalion of aircraft carriers, a largely homogeneous population, and cheap housing for everyone willing to put in an honest day’s work. But the poison pill has been swallowed; the suffrage movement achieves its main goal, and the dark shroud of the equalist era is about to descend. In academic halls and classrooms, lessers are pedestalized, while betters are denigrated.
~1-2 century AD Rome = 1970-2000 America. The scourge of single momhood, free and easy divorce, child support laws, majority female colleges, DADT repealed, gay marriage, game, etc etc ad infinitum. In short, the ultimate expression of anti-discrimination, anti-received wisdom, individualist ideology, (ironically buttressed by the groupthink of diversity mongers.) Lessers ignore their betters, who in turn renege on their traditional responsibility to act as examples for the lessers.
~3-4 century AD Rome = 2000-2010 America. (You’ll notice America’s progression through the stages of empire is much faster than was Rome’s. This is the blessing — or curse — of high tech mass communication.) The native stock of America, (specifically, the betters of that stock), have stopped having kids. Vice and corruption are on the rise. (See: Chicago, CRA, Goldman Sachs, neocon lies, Enron, Madoff… I could go on.) Economic and political instability are the order of the day. While America’s presidents aren’t being assassinated, our elections have been nailbiters since 2000, and partisanship is at a fevered pitch. A reborn religion called Islam threatens to co-opt the sympathies of Western societies’ rootless rejects and masculinized women. Except for the thinnest upper class slice, betters now ape the habits of their lessers.
~5 century Rome = present day America. America is ruled by an elite of cognitive jackpot winners who use the President as a puppet. Massive debt and financial chicanery is practically enshrined in law. The army is less and less filled with the demographic slice of American citizens that used to make up its ranks. Mercenaries (UN peacekeepers, bribed warlords, arm-twisted allies, recent unassimilated immigrants, and the desperate, poor and out of shape) now make up a larger part of the tip of the spear that projects American power. America is in the process of slow-motion selling off of the Southwest to appease the millions of peasant illegals it cavalierly allowed to invade and settle in the country.
The Fall of Rome = ? America.
America is having her Tower of Babel moment, and the elites applaud it when they aren’t dithering over tax code arcana or the cultural impact of snarky late night TV hosts. These parallels with Rome’s fall should make you feel queasy about the future of this nation. But you’ll quickly push aside those depressing thoughts and switch on for another lightning round of Call of Duty, figuring it’s not your problem. Until it is. Do you feel lucky, punk?