Whenever I talk to young people today I’m amazed at the number of factoids they can throw at me. Where they usually fall short is interpreting those factoids, tying them together, filling in the big blank spaces between, and coming up with a comprehensive whole that is both accurate and makes sense. This is especially true with broad historical social conditions, trends, background, reasons, directions. Much of what they have to say about the plight of Black Americans is fairly accurate, even if not well understood. It’s usually quite a different matter when it comes to explaining how that disease got here, what formed its foundation, where it came from, the precise origin of the transplanted “superior thinking” that enabled such evil trade in “sub-human” “property” to become readily “acceptable” in certain sectors of young America, the role played in the centuries-long sordid affair of birthright entitlement, serfdom, convict labor, indentured servitude and, yes, religion. Young people seem to have the notion that it all absurdly “blossomed” and “flourished” on its own in a total vacuum and only in America, and the evil business seems never to have involved humans who were not black. Obviously there remain huge chunks of the story still lurking in the shadows, even today. I’m Irish-American, a soldier of the world; I know, and I choose not to overlook certain history that some others may find “uncomfortable”, “inconvenient”, including that of British arrogance right up to the 20th century.
But what truly astounds me is how far off the mark they are when speaking of American women. It’s all emotion, zero logic, with a great deal of “spin”. To a guy who was there, who actually watched it all, participated in it, it sounds like so much made-up fantasy from some other world. And it all exists in a total vacuum, completely apart from anything else that was then taking place at the same time in the same society. One of the favorite words of young people today is “denied”. Women were “denied” this. Women were “denied” that. What is left unspoken is just who “denied” them; the only possible conclusion, of course, is that women were “denied” these things by those evil men. It’s mostly just nonsense, of course, the product of incessant propaganda now infecting even our school text books. Much of the popular view of the history of American women exists in a vacuum – anecdotal, egocentric, devoid of context, self-centered and unconcerned with the larger world in which that history unfolded.
We have all heard all the “feminist” propaganda ad nauseam about 20th century women prior to 1970 being “denied” the rights to vote, to educations, to job opportunities, etc.. It’s pure baloney, the product of closed and limited minds accustomed to judging everything, including the past and other cultures, by their own “superior” values of the present. As a group American women were never “denied” anything; it was always a matter of what they wanted – after they had worked out tremendous disagreement among themselves and then made known the wants of their majority. And even then you were never sure; women have always reserved the right to change their minds on a dime. But once a reasonable majority remained steadfast for long enough, perhaps as long as a year, they always got whatever policies they wished, and with little effort, especially considering what it had always taken for men to get what they had wanted earlier. American women are very fortunate that American men have always been the most accommodating men on the planet. (Of course, some do have a tendency to simply label those men as “stupid”; if they weren’t stupid, why would they ever trust any woman doctor, woman lawyer, woman politician, woman judge, woman social worker, woman psychologist .. given the fundamental view of those “oppressor” men held by such women? Then again, who is to complain if they just took out all their repressed “victim-hatred” on their tens of millions of illegitimate sons? See the logic? Perhaps it’s best this dogma remain unchallenged.)
The critical factor was that, up until the 1960s, it was always assumed that all rights in America came with corresponding responsibilities, that there was actually a price for all the freedoms and rights we enjoy. For example, one of our most important rights is the right to vote. The US Constitution was amended in 1920 (19th Amendment) to ensure that right to women, but what did it amend? It amended the original wording of the Constitution that implicitly granted to the individual states the right to decide voter qualifications in their states. Prior to that amendment, the US Constitution had not denied women the right to vote. Not only was retention of certain state rights important to getting agreement on the Constitution, but some of those drafting the Constitution had reservations about Black Americans in their states voting. Eighty years later, a larger and stronger United States finally resolved the matter of slavery when millions of its men went to war.
Then there was the matter of what women wanted, given the realities and the culture of the times. Some states and territories had granted women the right to vote a half century before 1920, but most had not. Why? Because the states were closer to reality than those advancing theories in Washington. Many women for a very long time, seeing men working until they died in very tough jobs providing for their families and also being killed and maimed in wars to defend the nation, were reluctant to assume such responsibilities. So there remained well into the 20th century major disagreement among women themselves about certain rights, especially considering the responsibilities that accompanied those rights. While there is ample anecdotal evidence of some men also having been opposed to women voting, the fact remains that when enough women largely resolved such disagreements among themselves, the right to vote was quickly enacted into national civil rights law. It was never something that men had “denied” to women, and it certainly was never denied by the Constitution. The biggest battles that the women’s suffrage movement fought took place among women, at the state level. It’s just more advantageous and convenient today to blame it all on men. (And resolving the matter for the whole nation certainly did not involve anyone, women or men, going to war.) You can see similar, and often vicious, battles even today among women over issues like abortion, breast cancer funding, politicians with differing philosophies, socialism versus capitalism, health care, etc.. In more recent times there has been a more concerted effort, by people who always take great exception to such tactics in other countries, to accomplish by fiat – forcibly through court imposition or government regulation – what has not been attainable through democracy at the ballot box, even when women have long been the majority voting bloc. Today, women constitute such a huge majority of voters in America that it is virtually impossible to deny them anything they decide to demand for themselves – at the ballot box. So, whenever women resort to the courts or government regulation, you know that they are largely waging a battle against other women, not against men. Men just constitute the easy patsy needed to keep the “eternal victim” myth alive and well.
During the 1960s, the responsibility part of rights began fading far into the background as the Baby Boomer public discussion revolved entirely around the rights part, without mention of responsibilities. (This was due in no small part to the legal principle of “disparate impact”, which “feminists” used to shift blame from the individual to the institution for any failures to measure up, starting with public schools.) Many young men, for example, ostensibly opposed to the war in Vietnam, totally rejected their responsibility for serving in the military. Responsibilities, of course, were of secondary consideration in the long overdue quest to finally bring an end to institutionalized discrimination against Black Americans. There, the injustice had been so great that it was far more important to emphasize the rights and have those rights finally become reality. The women’s movement was quick to jump on that rights movement and its fully justified social thinking, for its own purposes, and also quick to play the victim role, a role that conveniently obviated any need for responsibilities. Baby Boomers, worshipping at the altar of “me”, then carried that notion well into the future to permanently instill it into the culture. Responsibilities are now only for “someone else”, are very rarely mentioned in any other context and certainly not in connection with rights. While the Black American movement made significant progress toward correcting many wrongs in our society, the women’s movement simply perverted it. (Men did succeed in ending their Draft responsibility, but not their responsibility to register for the Draft.)
The areas of major emphasis in the women’s movement from about 1965 to 1985 were equal education and employment opportunities among Baby Boomers – both rights, in their minds, devoid of responsibility and intended to apply only to “me”. I’ve discussed education in several other posts dealing primarily with boys (See “Why Are American Men So Dumb?”), so I won’t repeat that discussion here. Suffice it to say that, while it has become nearly impossible to learn how poorly boys are now performing in women-dominated American public schools, we can see that in just five years hence women themselves are projected to be earning 66% of Associate’s degrees, 64% of Bachelor’s degrees, 65% of Master’s degrees, and 58% of Doctorates. (Since these percentages translate into many millions and are cumulative, in education anything below 47% or above 53%, a six-point spread, is NOT in balance, is NOT “equal”, according to US civil rights law – which requires immediate attention.) These figures, which have been steadily rising for over 25 years and are projected to continue rising far into the future, show that women are now benefiting from the right of an American education at twice the rate for men, despite civil rights laws mandating gender balance throughout all of American education. But women’s “victim” status absolves them of responsibility for anyone beyond themselves.
The Greatest Generation saw to it that the number of Americans graduating from high school – their Baby Boomer children – made its strongest rise in American history, from about 50% in 1950 to over 80% in 1975. That percentage continued to rise slowly thereafter to about 89% today, but the disparity between boys and girls under Baby Boomer supervision – their children – has become truly gross. From 1950 through 1980, girls and boys were performing relatively equally in school, and just as many women as men were going on to college. But women demanded that schools be re-engineered in their favor in the early-1970s, forcing boys to adapt or fail, and a decade later the scales began tipping ever more heavily in favor of girls. American women, free of responsibility, have done nothing but try to hide the truth about K-12 ever since. Although only a fool would accept figures provided by those interested foremost in themselves, the best estimate is that 17% of boys and 7% of girls now drop out of school, but women in education and in academia mostly shift blame for that to “parents” (most of whom are “single” women), and they offer no explanation for the really huge superiority of women in higher education, mainly pursuing liberal arts and social “science”. Nor do they offer a reasonable justification as to why men must continue paying for the lifestyle choices of such privileged women. (There are few things more irritating than watching a young women college student, wearing $1000 worth of “daily” fashion clothing, whining that she needs the government to pay for her birth control pills (about $100 a year). The average American worker spends about $1,100 a year just on coffee! It all sounds like a gaggle of whining super-spoiled little girls having another temper tantrum while swinging around their Gucci bags.)
Such gender balance in 1950-1970 education, however, was not reflected in the 1950-1970 workplace, so here I’ll focus on employment.
Productive employment at good wages has always been a competitive endeavor, not a birthright. Working was the only legal way to earn money to survive and get ahead in our society, the way successive generations of immigrants were able to boost themselves and their children a rung or two higher on the economic ladder. That competition had often been quite violent, especially during times of economic stress, worker exploitation and immigration waves. Prior to around 1940, work in over 90% of the labor force was exhausting, backbreaking and often deadly, requiring enormously greater strength, stamina and fortitude than the labor of today. There were almost no laws or regulations governing working conditions or pay, so it was mainly a matter of how much employers could get away with in the interest of profit while still remaining in business. Labor was an endeavor that few men would have chosen if given a choice, but since men were still expected to provide for their families and had almost no other legal choices, they fought hard to gain and keep their jobs. The remaining 10% of the labor force consisted primarily of office work that rarely paid enough to support a family and required skills usually lacking by the majority of workers; most of these positions were usually filled by women, who also fought hard to gain and keep their jobs.
If you wanted to avoid the severe hardships of most work environments, you had to invent new work environments. The international retail franchise Harper Beauty Salons, for example, was established in Rochester by a woman empire-builder in 1888. Martha Harper (1857-1950), with very little education and hair to the floor, immigrated to America from Canada and set about building a company which by its peak included more than 500 franchises employing thousands of women and an entire line of hair care products without synthetic dyes or unnatural chemicals. While obviously there were no restraints on women doing such things, such work environments were still anomalies.
Take just one small industry – the railroad industry. What could go wrong here? You get to ride around on a big machine all day – see the countryside, visit new towns, blow that loud whistle – while the big machine does all the work. (In 1920, the population of the US was one-third of what it is today, so you can multiply the following figures by three to arrive at comparable numbers for today’s world.) The year 1920 was a peak year for railroad employment – about 2,000,000 people, mostly men. It was also the year when new railroad technology began some very major changes. Coal-fired steam power was just beginning to be gradually phased out in favor of new diesel-fired electric generators, plus other major technological improvements, such as automatic braking systems. But prior to 1920, just building the lines throughout the country and laying, maintaining and repairing the tracks was back-breaking manual labor, as was that of men who shoveled the coal into the engine furnaces that produced the steam. Freight trains, just as they do today, greatly out-numbered passenger trains, so accidents not involving passengers (and publicity) were much more common. Sometimes scheduling mistakes, time differences and switching errors resulted in those huge machines on collision courses. Railroads, like most other industries in America, were very dangerous places to make a living. Probably the most dangerous railroad job was brakeman. Steam could efficiently generate enormous power to move incredible weight over carefully laid and maintained tracks, but slowing down and stopping all that weight was a different matter. The weight of the cars greatly exceeded the weight of the engine, so just applying brakes to the engine would never suffice. So a brakeman, assigned to every 3 to 6 cars, rode on top of the cars exposed to the elements. When the engineer signaled them to apply the brakes, the brakemen walked along the top from car to car to climb down and pull a lever by each car’s wheels. The lever applied a wood block against the steel wheels of each car; the friction then slowed down the rotation of each wheel. Slips and falls while doing all this walking around and climbing up and down on a big fast-moving machine on dusty, oily, wet, icy or snow-covered ladders and walkways, especially during cold, rainy or inclement weather, were common occurrences.
In the 27-year period from 1890 to 1917, over 230,000 railroad men were killed on the job, and more than another 2,000,000 men were severely injured. A huge portion of those injuries precluded the worker from ever returning to the same job. A man would have to be pretty desperate to seek employment at small wages with such a hazardous industry, but the truth was that almost all industries in America had similar safety records. It was a calculated risk; he needed the job to support his family, but his ability to do that would vanish with his death or injury. (As safety improved, so did tough union bargaining and various types of employment insurance programs designed to help mitigate the impact on families of death and injury of bread-earners, but it was still the man’s labor that earned the benefits.) Such things were common aspects of the vast majority of jobs in America prior to World War II; there simply were not huge numbers of women being denied anything. There just were not long lines of women clamoring for a chance to battle others for such tough and dangerous jobs. Why would they?
And then, as significant improvements in railroad technology resulted in significantly fewer deaths and injury, so did it also reduce the number of employees needed. About 2,000,000 employees ran the nation’s railroads in 1920; today just 177,000 do the job (less than 9%, or 11 times fewer), and with enormously greater efficiency, reliability and safety. So, as safety in the workforce steadily improved, the number of jobs available for gainful employment steadily declined – and competition for those fewer jobs increased. During the thirty years from 1920 to 1950, which also saw the awful miseries of the Great Depression and World War II, job safety and efficiency improved enormously in America, but the number of available jobs in older established industries declined, which required whole new industries to be created from the ground up, and intense competition for jobs in those new industries – just when women in the 1960s suddenly decided they wanted their “fair share”, too. But women were not creating those new industries; 75 years later they still aren’t.
During the 20th century, women who wanted to accept the conditions in the workplace did so, just as men did. Those of both genders who managed to secure a good job fought to keep it. Those who wanted better chances of securing such a job improved their chances through training and education. It was not something that was set in stone, or allocated, by gender – other than that men were always expected by their society to be gainfully employed (to meet their responsibility of providing for their families), while women were not, primarily because their greatest contribution to society – and their responsibility part in the bargain – was in having and raising the healthy children needed to keep the society going. It was a bargain that had worked reasonably well since the dawn of civilization.
So, it was simply a matter of values and workplace realities for everyone. In 1935, for example, the average life span for men was 58, so they set the eligibility age for the new Social Security program at 65 to help families of the very few men who would live so long but could no longer provide for them. Men just expected, and were expected, to die on the job, providing for their families. Up until the 1960s, most men still died on the job, never entering “retirement”. During world wars, when really huge numbers of men were away risking their lives, women were back home ably filling in for them in all endeavors. During World War II work on the assembly lines and in construction was still quite rigorous – conditions that most women were happy to put behind them when the surviving men came home from the war in the late 1940s to re-claim their jobs or began building the contemporary American infrastructure of highways, houses, skyscrapers, cars, airlines, pipelines and grids – when men went to work building the American cornucopia, starting with a thousand wonders invented and produced to make life better and easier in the home. During the 1950s, a very brief instant in the march of time, a certain social equilibrium was achieved between men working at decent jobs in the labor force to provide for their families and women working at home with dozens of new conveniences to build the next generation of very healthy and well-educated children. By the time those “Baby Boomer” kids became teenagers, they simply accepted that everything around them had always been so and were uninterested in the history involved or in understanding why or how such conditions came to be. They had no idea at all of the misery that had preceded them, or how very rapidly literally everything had changed. Life was good, and no one knew this better than their fathers.
The Sixties Transitioned From The Fifties
Up until the 1960s, most employment laws and regulations were set by the states. While, on the federal level, the Greatest Generation had enacted the Equal Pay Act of 1963, requiring equal wages for men and women doing equal work anywhere in the nation, their monumental Civil Rights Act of the following year, primarily addressing matters of race, also prohibited any discrimination against anyone on the basis of gender by any company with 25 or more employees. (The 1964 US Civil Rights Act was amended in 1972 to also prohibit discrimination on the basis of gender in education.) Women have a tendency to regard these laws as applying only to them, but they are universal civil rights laws, and under our Constitution, applicable to all Americans regardless of gender or race. Civil rights law is NOT something enacted “for” any special group; it is law that applies to everyone equally. These laws fairly stipulated equal pay for equal work and responsibility under similar working conditions, etc.. But they did not unfairly stipulate such equality regardless of a person’s free choices and behavior, including elective personal decisions which adversely affect their seniority, production, performance, qualifications, merit, etc.. America offers equal opportunity, it does not guarantee equal results. If it did, we’d all be blissfully sliding back to the Stone Age, expecting equal pay for doing nothing, waiting for “someone else” to “do something”. In recent times there has been a very disturbing trend in the “thinking” of women’s lobbies that “someone else” must pick up the tab of their own free choices, their own elective behavior, such as their choice to become obese, to engage in sex, to change jobs, to have children with no fathers, to assume responsibilities beyond their capabilities, etc.. It’s pretty difficult to have a more arrogant sense of unearned birthright entitlement than this nonsense. It’s important to keep in mind that the story of gender in America has been written by “feminists”, who also use “supporting” statistics generated by “feminists”. Their story is thus inherently one-sided and self-serving, as might be forthcoming from a never challenged monarchy above reproach.
Nellie Bly was a journalist, writer, foreign correspondent, industrialist, war reporter, inventor and charity worker who at age 25 traveled alone 25,000 miles around the globe in 72 days (November 1889-January 1890). She filed stories with her employer, Joseph Pulitzer’s newspaper the New York World, at each major stop along her journey, and beat a competitor, 28 year old Elizabeth Bisland, a reporter for Cosmopolitan who traveled in the opposite direction, by four and a half days – 125 years ago. The two young women passed each other in Hong Kong and attracted really huge numbers of readers to their fascinating accounts. (Ten years after these two women employees enjoyed an all-expense-paid journey of a lifetime, in 1899 the very wealthy and powerful Pulitzer and his equally wealthy and powerful rival, William Randolph Hearst, publisher of the New York Journal, were both finally defeated in the streets of New York by a revolution of over 5,000 boys – the very young and dirt-poor news boys, mostly homeless orphans, the newspapers had been exploiting for decades.)
In 1909, 22-year-old Alice Ramsey made history as the first woman to drive across a United States that still lacked paved roads made for cars, few gas stations and fewer decent road maps. Her trip from New York to San Francisco – in a four-cylinder, 30-horsepower 1909 Maxwell DA – took 59 days to complete and covered 3,800 miles. In later years the New Jersey housewife and mother of two repeated the trip more than 30 times, the last in 1975 at age 89.
In 1912 Cincinnati high school student Edna Murphey had an idea. She had discovered that an antiperspirant that her surgeon father had invented to keep his hands sweat-free in the operating room also thwarted underarm wetness and smell and decided to start a company selling the stuff to women. But women of the time were loath to admit that there was even a problem that needed a solution, so sales went nowhere – a fate that had befallen a number of similar products up to then. Her booth at the summer-long Atlantic City Exposition in 1912, however, eventually managed to realize a profit – which she put into promotion. She hired Cincinnati copywriter James Young, a former Bible salesman with no background in marketing, but his initial efforts were unimpressive. In 1919 at Edna’s urging he decided to go radical and crafted a number of advertising ‘articles’ for women’s magazines like Ladies Home Journal that were designed to embarrass women. The premise of the articles was that women were hiding from a big problem everyone knew was right there, holding back one’s popularity, but a problem which no one wanted to talk about. The clever “whisper campaign” worked. By 1927 Edna’s sales reached $1 million. In 1929, at the age of 33, she sold the company (Odorono) for the handsome sum of $3 million (worth about $14,500,000 today). James Young went on to enjoy a career as one of the most famous and successful advertising copywriters of the 20th century. Edna was only a high school student when she started over a century ago, and the only obstacle that ever got in her way was other women’s notions about themselves. Like Nellie Bly, she never thought about needing to be “liberated”.
Homesick Lillian Alling was a 25-year old emigrant to America from eastern Europe who, unable to save enough money to pay eastward sea fare, in 1927 started instead to walk westward back to her homeland alone. No one told her that she couldn’t do it, so she did. Her recorded three year journey began in New York and went westward through southern Canada, British Columbia, the Territory of Alaska, and possibly across the Aleutian Islands to her native Russia in 1930. (A second account has her traveling from Nome, Alaska, across the Bering Strait to Provideniya, Russia.) That’s a total straight-line air distance of 5,000 miles; by land it’s closer to 7,000 miles, on foot, through mostly unforgiving wilderness.
Just who was “oppressing” these women? The United States Constitution was ratified in 1788. Since the nation’s inception 225 years ago, American women have been free to do whatever they wanted to do, and the United States has never required them to do anything, including serving in its many wars. It’s pretty difficult to argue with any degree of actual honesty that such an environment constitutes “oppression”. But all of that, of course, was before feminism introduced relentless whining, declining standards, and demanded quotas – for “eternal victims”.
Still, the Greatest Generation obviously had more than its share of outstanding women who grew up in the 1950s and became all they wanted to become. Stephanie Kwolek (1923 – 2014) was born near Pittsburgh to Polish immigrant parents. During WW II she obtained a Bachelor of Science degree with a major in chemistry from Carnegie Mellon University. In 1946 she was offered a position at DuPont’s Buffalo, New York, facility, an opportunity available to her at that time because of the number of men who were still serving the nation overseas in World War II, a civic responsibility not required of American women. Kwolek became a chemist whose career at the DuPont company spanned over 40 years, most at their facility in Wilmington, Delaware. She is best known for inventing in 1964 the first of a family of synthetic fibers of exceptional strength and stiffness, better known as Kevlar. Although DuPont teams subsequently found over 200 major uses for her discovery, she did not profit from DuPont’s products, having signed over as is customary the Kevlar patent to the company. Kwolek never married and never had children. Marlene Sanders was the first woman to anchor a prime-time network newscast (for ABC in 1964) at age 33. She was also the first network TV female journalist to report from Vietnam (in 1966), and the first female vice-president of a news division (ABC in 1976). In 1971 Sanders took over for ABC’s Sam Donaldson for three months, anchoring ABC Weekend News on Saturdays. She later became an Emmy Award–winning correspondent, writer, producer and broadcast-news executive. Denise McCluggage was an American auto racing driver, journalist, sports promoter, author and photographer. In auto racing, she bought her first sports car at age 26 in 1953, won the grand touring category at Sebring in a Ferrari 250 GT in 1961, scored a class win in the Monte Carlo Rally in a Ford Falcon in 1964, and also participated in the 1000-km race at the Nürburgring.
Some of the things concerning gender that I hear today about “The 1950s” are simply astounding in their absurdity, especially when they are so easily disproved by anyone who likes good movies. The film “Northwest By Northwest”, for example, is a great Hitchcock thriller. Study the dialogue between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint on the train. He’s a known Madison Avenue executive being sought as a murderer, and she presents herself as a very self-assured 26-year old industrial designer who is traveling alone in a first class suite. The two interesting characters are equally smart, sophisticated and confident. They periodically exchange equally high levels of trust in the other. The film was released in 1959, and remains a favorite today. At the time, no one viewing the film thought there was anything at all unusual about such a scenario. The last thing that Hitchcock wanted in his films was anything that might divert audience attention from the rapidly flowing story, to ever induce his audience to suspend belief; such artificial distractions would have simply ruined his work. Everything in the story had to flow normally. The movie could have been released in 2009, fifty years later, without changing one word of dialogue, and still be just as convincing to audiences. British women could use the same Hitchcock tool to see back even a quarter of a century earlier in his spy thriller “The 39 Steps” (1935) , in which the male lead (Robert Donat) is on the run from the law and finds himself handcuffed to a very smart and self-assured young women (Madeline Carrol) who believes he’s guilty as charged. I would actually argue that the average woman of today does not evidence nearly the same easy capabilities as did women of a half century ago and earlier, before “feminists” brainwashed American women into believing that they could exploit a wide range of manufactured excuses for not measuring up, for instead childishly playing “eternal victim” and thus avoid responsibility for their own condition. (Prior to the rise of American “feminism”, men were masculine and women were feminine, and the two played off each other quite easily to achieve a comfortable whole far superior to the nauseating perversion we have today – where women are constantly forging with inexplicable whining offense while men are constantly yielding in inexplicable guilt-ridden defense.)
Which single instrument has contributed most to the advancement of human knowledge, and just over the first 25 years of its life? The Hubble Space Telescope. How many know that it was a woman who ensured that the instrument was built and launched? The “mother of Hubble” is Greatest Generation member Nancy Roman, born in Tennessee in 1925 to a geophysicist father and a music teacher mother, who first became interested in astronomy at age 11. During World War II, she obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Astronomy from Swarthmore in 1946 and then a PhD in Astronomy from the University of Chicago in 1949, where she remained for six more years working at the Yerkes Observatory. She then went to work for the Naval Research Laboratory where she became head of the microwave spectroscopy section. After retired Army general and President Dwight Eisenhower established the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in 1958, encouraging peaceful applications in space science, Nancy Roman became the first Chief of Astronomy and Solar Physics (1961-63) in NASA’s Office of Space Science (during President Kennedy’s term). It was Roman herself, as the first woman to hold an executive position at the new space agency, who set up the program. During the 1960s she developed and budgeted various programs for Orbiting Solar Observatories, Small Astronomical Satellites, and Geodetic satellites, and organized their scientific participation. The last program she planned, set up and oversaw, beginning in 1970, was the Hubble Telescope (or Large Space Telescope (LST)) program, which was originally scheduled for launch in 1979 but, due to continuing funding, engineering and shuttle disaster delays, finally launched in 1990. She left NASA in 1980 after 21 years and continued until 1997 her work for contractors who supported the Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland near Washington DC, where she has lived since 1955. The asteroid 2516 Roman is named in her honor. Throughout her career, Roman has also been an active public speaker and educator, and an advocate for women in the sciences.
Jerrie Mock was a 1950s Ohio housewife who got bored and decided to do something different. While studying aeronautical engineering in college at Ohio State, Jerrie, who was born in 1925, had met and married her husband Russell just as World War II ended in 1945. He went on to become a successful advertising executive, and she had and raised two sons and a daughter while occasionally doing some recreational flying. Responding to an offhanded chide from her husband, in 1964 she took her pilot’s license, climbed into her 11-year-old single-engine Cessna 180, and became the first woman to fly solo around Earth. She completed the 23,000 mile trip in 29.5 days, was honored in the White House by President Johnson, went on to set a number of other speed and distance flying records – and, as with thousands of other American women of that period, was mostly ignored by “feminists” for her impressive accomplishments. She died in Florida in 2014, at age 89. She had 12 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. Silent Generation member Jerry Mock was a true feminist; she did what she did simply because she could, and seized the opportunity.
Greatest Generation member Elizabeth (‘Lee’) Miller was one of the most important war photographers of the twentieth century. Born in 1907 in Poughkeepsie (New York) she became a successful fashion model in New York before moving to Paris, where she became an established photographer and friend to many renowned artists. Moving to England, she covered the London Blitz (1940-41). In December 1942 Miller became one of only four female photographers accredited as US official war correspondents, but she only gained access to Europe in July 1944, shortly after D-Day, and was initially directed away from the front line, reporting on the work of US Army nurses at a field hospital near Omaha Beach. In August 1944 she gained unauthorized access to the frontline and was the only photojournalist to witness the American assault on the fortress of St Malo. Miller recorded, from the enemy side, the first use of napalm at the siege of St. Malo. She also recorded the liberation of Paris and the battle for Alsace. After arriving in Paris at the end of August 1944, she accompanied the American army as they travelled through Europe, witnessing the devastation of the war and discovering the horrors of the Nazi regime, including Buchenwald and Dachau concentration camps. Miller photographed dying children in a Vienna Hospital, peasant life in post-war Hungary, and finally the execution for war crimes and collaboration with the Nazis of Hungarian Prime Minister László Bárdossy. She finally returned to Britain in 1946 and thereafter rarely spoke about her wartime career. It wasn’t until her death in Sussex (England) in 1977 that her son discovered her work, hidden in the attic of their family home.
Althea Gibson was a Greatest Generation American tennis player and professional golfer who in 1956 won the Grand Slam (French Open), Wimbledon and the US Nationals (US Open), and then repeated it all the next year to be twice voted as Female Athlete of the Year by the Associated Press. In 1957 she was the first Wimbledon winner to be awarded the trophy personally by the Queeen (Elizabeth II). Althea Gibson won eleven Grand Slam tournaments before switching to pro golf (which offered the potential of pay). Gibson was born in 1927 and grew up in Depression Era South Carolina and Harlem, where she learned to excel in paddle tennis and then junior-level tennis during World War II. She was a black American woman who became a world-class and world-recognized tennis champion during “The Fifties” and is still regarded by many as one of the greatest tennis players ever.
As life in America after World War II during the 1950s very rapidly became enormously easier and more comfortable, the average American began to add a few things he or she probably could do without – extra pounds. And yet this, too, presented new opportunities. In 1961 Jean Nidetch, the 38-year old overweight “50s housewife” of an overweight bus driver in Queens, decided to do something about her weight. Her efforts led to others with a similar interest, approaches that achieved success, and a year later to her incorporating her Weight Watchers, which quickly became a very popular and well-established global company. Sixteen years later she sold the company to the Heinz Corporation for $71 million, but Weight Watchers remains a popular global and publicly traded franchise even today (when its need is far greater). The Greatest Generation’s Jean Nidetch died in 2015 at age 92, still weighing exactly what her goal had been way back in 1961, and still a very wealthy self-made American woman.
My own recollection of “the 50s women” is probably best exemplified by Eve Arden who played a high school English teacher on radio for 9 years from 1948 to 1957 and also on television for 4 years from 1952 to 1956 in the enormously popular comedy series “Our Miss Brooks“. The cynical but good-natured (and grossly under-paid) Miss Brooks was smarter and quicker than everyone around her, but she never let her intelligence go to her head. While Lucille Ball’s comedy always seemed to have an element of outlandish slapstick, Eve Arden’s was under-stated sarcasm; she never seemed to be reaching for laughs, but they came all the same and usually with an element of wonder. The best description of the Miss Brooks character I’ve read comes from an “Our Miss Brooks” website: “Miss Brooks comes across as a relatively normal person, dropped into the alien world called High School with a frog-collecting love interest, squeaky voiced teens, and a blustery buffoon of a boss.” Eve Arden’s “Miss Brooks” defined “sardonicism”, and it was usually delivered like an insider’s private observation meant just for the audience, while sailing over the heads of the characters around her to whom it was addressed. Most of Lucy’s hilarious predicaments were self-inflicted; Miss Brooks usually found herself in predicaments inflicted on her. The comedy of both women came from being out of synch with their immediate environments, but for Lucy it was the environment that was “normal”, while for Miss Brooks it was she who was “normal”. Both women endeared themselves to their audiences, and neither ever whined that any “blame” was due to gender. Despite all the subsequent propaganda, it was a time when everyone was still working together in the same boat, and succeeding. These two women had real gifts, well-honed talents, and everyone recognized that, and rewarded both by embracing them in their own lives as very well-known members of the American family. In their comedy we were laughing at ourselves.
Because of the general conditions and standards of society prior to the 1960s, a small majority (about 55%) of women simply opted to make choices other than workplace labor, as was their right, both legally and socially. But almost half, about 45%, did chose to enter the workplace. The numbers of women graduating from high school and obtaining a college education was about equal to the numbers of men doing so, as was also their right, both legally and socially. Despite all the subsequent propaganda, there were no artificial mechanisms in place “forcing” women to either remain outside the workforce or to enter it, to obtain a college degree or not. (There are always going to be a few men, just as in any other group, who stupidly presume, in defense of their own insecure self-image, that others, such as small men, women, Blacks, people from Vermont who wear glasses, etc., can’t do what they do, but given time to prove otherwise with experience, they are almost always proven just wrong – provided no one is granted lame excuses. Guys like me have dealt with such stupid nonsense all our lives, as underestimated men, but generalizing such anecdotal idiots to be representative of all men is just a cheap propaganda trick.) Everyone knows Jonas Salk; how many know Elizabeth Kenny? (See Footnote #1.) Do modern “feminists” bury such great women because they don’t fit into their revisionist “historical” propaganda? Why do we hear constantly of Amelia Earhart but not of Bridget Kennedy, or Jerrie Mock? Is “feminism” really about “masculinizing” women by “feminizing” men? (When you start picking this stuff apart, you get a little sick, and angry. Was it all Baby boomer propaganda, or just cheap self-serving lies?)
Things began to change in the mid-1960s when women’s lobbies began pushing young Baby Boomer women hard in directions they wanted to push women. Swept up in the psychology of the Black Rights movement, suddenly women felt it was their obligation to forcibly assert their “rights” everywhere – and began flooding into the workplace in really huge numbers. It did work to their advantage to do so while most young men were far more concerned about being drafted for a very deadly and unpopular war in Southeast Asia and while most of the nation’s attention was focused on the far more important struggle for racial equality. It was also considerably advantageous to them that working conditions in most jobs throughout America had improved enormously over the previous twenty years under the Greatest Generation, the most significant such improvement in human history. American “feminists” have been busily re-writing that history and infecting the whole country with their nonsense ever since. The truth is less flattering. If working conditions had improved so greatly and jobs were paying pretty good wages in a very vibrant society, why would anyone who could not want to partake? The road up the ladder had suddenly became enormously easier, and safer, for everyone. But men still had their responsibility, while women had their rights. And this is where things began to go off the rails.
Men working in jobs to support families, and their unions, did object to being forcibly replaced on the job in the interests of “equality” (“affirmative action” numerical quotas) by women who were allowed to circumvent seniority requirements and at lower performance standards – and some naturally resisted such measures in the same way they would have resisted strike breakers of either gender driving down wages and threatening their livelihoods. Some of those men had battled their whole lives to improve the conditions of their own labor. For men the workplace had always been a very tough and competitive environment, an environment over which they had often even waged very bloody battles. While women had stood on the sidelines, men had waged a century-long war consisting of thousands of violent battles, often costing many lives, for dependable blue collar jobs under survivable conditions at a reasonable wage. Within just a few minutes of finally achieving those objectives … in the doors streamed millions of women demanding their “fair quota” of those jobs, and they didn’t care if the man they pushed aside and replaced was their own father. So some women during the 1960s and 1970s did experience some difficulties in some fields, but all such problems could have been mitigated if women had followed the same course that men had always followed and started at the bottom and worked their way up, had actually earned what they suddenly wanted, had played by the same rules that applied to men, had waited until sufficient job vacancies were available to accommodate all those who suddenly wanted to fill them. Almost overnight it was the “war of rights”; responsibility was its first casualty. It was all about “me”, damned those “evil” men. The primary weapons were quotas and “affirmative action”. Women wanted it all, and they wanted it now. And naturally they only wanted what they regarded as the good stuff; they were, after all, super-spoiled Baby Boomer women.
One of the things that came as a shock to many young women entering the workforce for the first time was that it was still a pretty rough place, whether on the assembly line or in the office cubicle. Men supporting growing families needed money for food, housing and savings, and they accepted the often brutal competition that came with meeting that need. Those who met expectations, who fulfilled their family responsibilities, who got promoted, who earned more money, who climbed the ladder quicker, were those who either worked the hardest or had an angle – which could range from a smarter use of their talents to sharper elbows to membership in a sub-group that subtly worked the system to their members’ favor. The same tough dynamics had characterized the workplace since the dawn of the Industrial Revolution. By the 1960s, competition among men was no longer nearly as brutal as it had been prior to World War II, but competition was still an integral aspect of the workplace and men were still judged on their ability to be employed and to succeed in that employment. The Constitution gave one the right to pursue happiness; it did not offer the right of happiness. Happiness, one hoped, could come by successfully competing in the rough arena under rules that applied equally to everyone.
Ladies, here’s a little secret someone should have told you back in the 1970s or 1980s: ALL subordinates hate their bosses; your gender does NOT make you “special”, either as a subordinate or as a boss. It just goes with the territory.
Unfortunately many women took that competition personally, complained that it was directed against them, and feminists were quick to take up their complaints. Unable, or unwilling, to view the arena from the other’s vantage, to see that men were judged by very different standards than they were, they saw it as “discrimination” specifically directed against them. Just as they did in the schools, feminists viewed competition as “male aggression”, as aggression directed specifically against them, designed to “oppress” women and “keep them down”. Not only were women using quota systems allowed by law to force their way into the workplace, soon they were using other law to reengineer that workplace to make the environment “less hostile” to them. Gradually, not only did employment become another “right”, but job performance became not so much a matter of what one did or did not do to further the employer’s objectives, but on how one behaved while filling a space on the job. Not wanting to play the rough game that men played, women wanted to play a nice game that gave them a better chance of winning in a job that was comfortable to them. “Successful” employees were now those who behaved nicely regardless of their contribution to the greater objective. It was much more about “me” than about “us”. “Success” quickly became more a matter of process than of results.
“Being a woman is a terribly difficult task, since it consists principally in dealing with men.” – Joseph Conrad (1857-1924) Polish-British author (who, of course, like all men, also had to deal with men, and women, too. It’s called Real Life.)
It was also the first major assault on the family, which many men naturally eventually concluded was a futile effort signifying nothing. Why play the old game when the new game offered much lower and easier standards? Today most men just go through the motions, barely meeting expectations that are simply phony. Let the government meet whatever “family” responsibilities are no longer met by either partner in the marriage business. “I have a right to my happiness.” The greatest weakness of self-involved American women is their inability (or refusal) to see the board from the other’s vantage. Incredibly, women still expect the bended knee, the diamond ring, the expensive white dress, the big wedding, the house with the white picket fence and blissful happiness ever after. It’s still all about “me”. (It’s a self-serving delusion – which women themselves killed long ago.)
It was also a major assault on the results. That broiling competition had always fostered a very critical aspect of American success: it encouraged many of the bravest to break out and forge new paths, employ their talents in new endeavors, create their own wealth, build new businesses and empires, offer new employment to many more. Now reasonable employment could be met, and expectations filled, simply by filling a space, a job, going through a boring routine, with very little risk involved. Women demanded employment and advancement as birthrights, but that employment was with secure enterprises created by “someone else”. American national economic growth began slowing down as old industries became stagnant and new industries became ever fewer. To remain in business and stay viable, old industries turned to increased productivity. Whereas in the past industries rose and fell as they were replaced by new industries, the emphasis shifted to shoring up old industries to keep things chugging along. Essential increased productivity was achieved mostly by computers. (And expanding employment was provided by ever-expanding, and eminently secure, government.)
Just like today, there was never anything stopping any women from investing the risk and the hard work needed to start and grow her own business, from setting her own workplace practices, her own wages and benefits, her own promotion standards, selecting her own executives, paying her own employee entitlements – for her own business. If a poor woman from a small village in China can venture into America in 1998 and quickly build completely on her own the foundation of a global business that in one single decade made her the richest women billionaire in the world, it’s pretty difficult to say that any American women could not have done the same, easier. It just never occurred to the lady from China to expect “someone else” to take the blame, pay the bills and do the hard stuff for her, to offer her a job that would secure her future with little risk. Zhang Lin never even bothered to enlist the assistance of a wide range of powerful women’s groups, propaganda organs or special government programs in place to assist American women do much smaller things for the past fifty years, such as low-cost loans, tax breaks, hiring policies and affirmative action laws. (Actually, considering how long these costly special programs for American women have been running, and how long women have benefited so much more than men from American education, it’s logical to conclude that American women are far behind where they should be in becoming “The Man” – responsible for creating new businesses, new inventions, new careers, new jobs, new wealth, new entitlements, and, of course, steady national economic growth, but also in taking the blame for everyone’s childish complaints about American capitalism.) And Zhang Lin wisely opted to use America as just a source of raw materials, and build her empire in China.
Reliable numbers about the past from reputable sources such as the Department of Labor and the US Census Bureau are still available, but one must dig deep. A half century ago, immediately after WW II, labor was much more rigorous and demanding than it is today. Technology, safety standards and overall working conditions in almost all fields have improved things tremendously in the interim, so it’s difficult today to envision yesterday’s reality. Still, in 1965 roughly 98% of men and 45% of women – members of the Greatest Generation – were in the labor force. This hardly matches the silly propaganda image drummed into everyone ever since the 1970s about the “oppressed women” of “The Fifties” slaving away unwillingly in home prisons; as always, it was a matter of choices, and almost half of women chose to work in the arena. (Some of them, of course, were widows of WW II and Korean War dead soldiers, who were able to leave behind only a very tiny fraction of what today’s dead soldiers leave behind.) Still, while many more women have entered the workforce over the past half century, even more men have left that workforce. Today about 72% of men and 61% of women are in the American labor force. Thus, employment rates for men have declined by 26%, while employment rates for women have increased by 16%, mostly in safe and secure industries like government, finance and health care that depend largely on simply confiscating money from others. (Preliminary figures since the Great Recession began in 2008 indicate that the number of men who are now in the work force has dropped well below 68%, while those for women have risen to about 64%.) This is a truly staggering swing, but the figures also reveal other important things.
Over the 35 years between 1971 and 2007, due in no small part to an over-abundance of workers and piss poor prior planning, wages for all workers in America rose by just 4%. But productivity doubled (200%), making labor even less valuable. Wages always fall when there are too many people seeking too few jobs; our economy is simply not creating enough new jobs. Worker wages now are the smallest share of national income since 1945, and far fewer workers are buying everything in sight for steadily growing families, but rather for “me”. With fewer businesses employing lots of workers being created, there are more workers than available jobs, and those jobs are now much more productive. The net result of this natural supply and demand dynamic is to dramatically cheapen the value of labor. There are now an enormous number of women out there demanding jobs, and jobs that ensure the working conditions and benefits they want, but very few women creating the big companies needed to offer such jobs. This is a natural consequence of viewing everything nice as a right, while expecting “someone else” to retain the hard parts, of having the responsibility of ensuring that right. Building big business is fraught with enormous risk, cost, competition, innovation and responsibility, things few women are willing to embrace – and those women are now a truly staggering portion of the workplace. With all their extra advantages, including twice as many university degrees as men, women today are still concerned only about their rights and not willing to discuss their responsibilities, are still eager to shift blame for their condition to “someone else”. Today it seems that the only new big businesses that are being created in America are being created by young men who break away, not from established companies, but earlier, from the women-dominated school industry, and forge new businesses with their own independent thinking not crippled by the prevailing birthright dependency philosophy indoctrinated by our schools. (After throwing their crippling dogma at boys from the moment they’re born onward, as soon as one of them manages to overcome all that crap and create something big out of nothing, who is the first to show up demanding their quota of jobs under their conditions? Our ever–offensive American women.) Tough competition for jobs, for brilliant innovation, for business growth, for new wealth creation, is now very rare in our society; everything we like about life must be now handed to us on a silver platter, and everything we don’t like must be handed to “someone else”. We now occupy a stagnant society, going nowhere. The “best American” among us is an immigrant from South Africa – Leon Musk – marching to his own tune.
In 1965 about 38% of all adults were in the labor force – when the birth rate was three times higher than today and more than enough to make it eventually very easy for Baby Boomer children to support their Greatest Generation parents in retirement. Today about 51% of all adults are in the labor force, split 53% men and 47% women, and everyone can expect to live past 65 and enjoy many years in non-productive retirement. But while our population has increased by 62%, the work force has increased by only 47%. (See Footnote #2.), while the cost of government has increased exponentially. The greatest part of that work force increase has been realized by those doing for a fee within a business entity routine services that were previously done as a responsibility within the family unit, i.e., out-sourcing family functions. This means that a lot more people today, both men and women, are not in the work force, and not paying taxes to support their society, and are dependent on others for their livelihood. Many of those people are spending a lot of years in retirement supported by those still working. Many others are young men who have simply dropped out. Others are on various forms of government assistance. (There’s also a perverse justice that so many of the young unemployed these days are now sponging off the same Baby Boomer parents who created the mess-to-nowhere in which their children now find themselves.) Because of gross mismanagement and myopic self-interest, our society has not kept pace with our wants, or with the nation’s needs. Far too many of us have been transferred from productive work to government dependency. Worse, beginning with the Baby Boomers, the birth rate among native-born Americans is only half that necessary to maintain our status quo, not to mention pay for exponentially increasing Baby Boomer medical and retirement costs – forcing us to import many millions of Third World immigrants to take up the native slack in having and raising children, children who will become tomorrow’s taxpayers.
Women are now heavily concentrated in very low-risk industries like government, education, finance and social services that offer, in addition to excellent pay and benefits like paid leave, platinum health care and pension plans, the best job security and working conditions, and very little, if any, competition. (See Footnote #3.) Today we have a truly staggering number of people employed in government and social services addressing and perpetuating problems their mothers created. Also, while the numbers of men and women in the workforce are now in relative balance, far more women than men still voluntarily enter and leave that workforce, or change jobs, presenting natural problems to their gaining seniority for advancement. And while limiting the discussion solely to “wages”, feminists are still using the same figure they used fifty years ago – that women make only $0.77 for every $1.00 that men make – as if nothing has changed in a half century, as if all their efforts since 1960 have accomplished nothing, as though their many powerful lobbies have been totally ineffective, as though their wages are not a direct consequence of their own lifestyle choices and decisions, their own behavior. (It’s an asinine argument.)
The real numbers and facts about the past simply do not match up against the propaganda, or against the prevailing beliefs, especially among young Americans, after a half century of self-serving women’s lobby propaganda promulgated even in our schools. After all, which eighth grader is going to go searching through government archives when all the information they need to pass the test is right there in the school book? There’s the “right” answer, and then there’s the correct answer.
During the past 50 years, demanding manual labor required of many blue collar jobs decreased significantly and many more white-collar jobs were created. This was primarily a function, first, of automated technology and machinery, and later, of computer technology in the office. It was also a consequence of our society changing steadily from a manufacturing-based economy to a service-based economy. As a greater number of easier jobs became available, most women opted for fields that offered office jobs, even in the armed forces, where they were able to advance in relative ease and comfort as soon as such opportunity presented itself. Today a good representation of women in these office jobs can be seen in government civil service employees and their unions aggressively resisting efforts to rein in the costs associated with their unionized employment – threatening their wages and livelihoods just as their grandmothers had done ruthlessly to their grandfathers a generation ago. Productive employment at good wages apparently is no longer a competitive endeavor, but rather another “birthright”. What was once perfectly acceptable for government to force on behalf of “me” in blue collar jobs where men dominated is now an entirely different matter in white collar jobs where women dominate. How many of these women in civil service jobs today see in their fight the same fight waged by their grandfathers on assembly lines a half century ago? Probably none. It’s not at all surprising that those ivory tower “feminists” on the socialist campus entirely miss the irony. The staggering number of employees in our incredibly bloated government is simply unsustainable, and that industry, too, must yield to reality. When customers are not buying enough of a company’s product, the money coming in is insufficient to maintain the same number of jobs at the same wages. When there are not enough employed taxpayers to support government services, the money coming in is insufficient to maintain the same number of jobs at the same wages and benefits. It’s just that simple. Something’s has got to give. The company progressively trims its work force until it goes out of business, or survives leaner and smarter. The same simple principle must apply to government.
“Why should I experience your high heel shoes when you are not interested in my steel toe boots?” “Just where do you get the right to stand on your pedestal and dictate to me in the ditch?” “Why is behavior directed towards you any more objectionable than the same behavior directed towards me?” “Why would I ever follow you anywhere when the only thing that concerns you is you?” “You have never tolerated criticism from men; why should I tolerate criticism from you?” Such questions are a function of male logic. Women’s arrogance and sanctimony, arising from that disease of “feminist” birthright entitlement, has become simply breathtaking to a thinking man. (Absolutely nothing infuriates me more than some privileged woman politician presuming to pass judgment on combat soldiers while hiding what her kind has been doing with impunity to boys at home and in school for over a generation. She is nothing but a twit above reproach who has been allowed to live her whole life in some dictated self-serving fantasy world.)
Conditions that exist in our society today to which women find fault were created by and for women. It is not something that was or is “imposed” on women. It is simply a consequence of their own choices given the steady advance of technology. Not only are there economic reasons why women now need to work, but women are also more likely to choose to work even when not economically compelled to do so (which further reduces jobs available for those who need them). And they still have the same choices, while men are still expected to be gainfully employed.
In modern times, women have gained full control over even if and when they have children. This means that it is now easier for women to pursue an education than it was prior to the 20th century, if they want to. And they have also delayed both marriage and childbearing, and significantly reduced the incidence of both. On average, women now have fewer children, thereby decreasing demands on parental time and freeing up time to work outside the home. (It is debatable which leads to the other. Women have choices – about having children, about education and about working; it’s still mainly a matter of what women want.) They have also been able to farm out to others much of what little parental responsibility remains. Furthermore, about 56% of women between ages 18 and 48 today, and steadily rising, have never been married and never had children. Yet, while in 1963 only about 3 percent of white kids were born outside of marriage, today, with women in total control of all aspects of procreation, almost half of children born in this country are born to unmarried women. Just who is responsible for that? And just who is responsible for the children, for what they become? American women today spend more than seven hours a week more than women in 1965 did sitting on their asses – doing such ‘healthy’ activities as driving, watching TV, playing with digital toys, etc. – additional time which women in 1965 spent caring for their children – an actually productive endeavor. In addition, the increased life expectancy of women (with steadily declining health) means that women who do have children have more years of life after their child rearing responsibilities have diminished, and thus more time to remain in the workforce and then to enjoy the last third of their adult life in “retirement” … on someone else’s dime.
When women decided to flood into the workplace in the 1960s and 1970s, they displaced male workers, drove down the value of labor (wages), destroyed labor unions, used affirmative action quotas to jump ahead of male workers, imposed a wide range of forced “re-education” and “indoctrination” programs on men, used courts and government as their battering ram, and made it henceforth necessary for two workers to provide the same family standard of living as previously provided by one worker. Ever since, they have never stopped complaining about conditions they themselves created and have never stopped demanding that “someone else” compensate them, including via a range of new “entitlements”, for the consequences of their own lifestyle choices, their own behavior. A half century, a lifetime, of that juvenile stuff is enough. Forty years of screwing over boys in school to further their own agenda is enough, too.
While the rhetoric (and even the numbers used) is still firmly based in 1965, the reality of 2010 makes it all just incredibly absurd. In short, women have taken advantage of better opportunities offered by their society – in working conditions, pregnancy control and educational pursuit – while focusing on themselves regardless of the impact on men and on their larger society. Women have created their own environment and imposed that environment on everyone. Any complaints they have about that environment should be addressed to their mirror. Today’s reality has been created solely by their lobbies and their propaganda machines, coupled with all women’s broad acquiescence. Men have been mostly road kill to their relentless self-involvement.
(See “American Feminism, Part 2” and “We Are Owed It!”, posted separately.)
Footnote #1: Elizabeth Kenny, a second generation Irish-Australian, was an unaccredited nurse born in New South Wales in 1880 who treated her first cases of infantile paralysis (childhood poliomyelitis) in 1910 while working alone as a bush nurse. Facing strong opposition from the established medical community, Kenny promoted a controversial new approach to the treatment of the disease most feared by parents all over the world. Her findings ran counter to conventional medical wisdom by demonstrating the need to passively exercise muscles affected by polio instead of immobilizing them. An unaccredited nurse, with no training but a lot of hands-on experience, she was essentially trying to re-diagnose the symptoms of a disease, and thus its treatment, that had been set in stone by her country’s esteemed orthopedic science, and that community refused to bend. Despite the strong skepticism, her method did achieve results far superior to that advanced by conventional wisdom, and without the deformities resulting from immobilizing the bodies of growing children. When her fiancé was called up for duty in WW I, she volunteered as an army nurse, served on numerous dangerous ship convoys, and was commissioned as a First Lieutenant (nurse = Sister), but after the war chose childhood polio over marriage. Not permitted to treat early stages of the disease, she was able to treat children, mostly through charity work, after the medical community was finished with them and had discharged its patients to a lifetime in painful braces. Even then she achieved considerable success.
At the beginning of WW II Kenny was invited to the United States where her treatment was still received with major skepticism from the established medical community, but nevertheless widely embraced by the public. Eventually, however, for the first time in 35 years of work, Sister Kenny lectured classes of orthopedic surgeons and, with her understanding of muscles and nerves, taught them how to re-think what they knew about the disease. Kenny treatment centers were opened throughout America. The best-known was the Sister Kenny Institute in Minneapolis. She received honorary degrees from Rutgers University and the University of Rochester and lunched with President Roosevelt, discussing his own polio treatment at Warm Springs. In 1951 Kenny topped Gallup’s Most Admired Women list, the only woman in the first 10 years of the list to displace Eleanor Roosevelt. She died back home in Australia the following year (1952), three years before the American Dr. Jonas Salk developed a vaccine that finally cured the disease.
Against a solid wall of official opposition, with only a basic education coupled with a persistent determination, she proved all the “esteemed experts” wrong and, with no children of her own, significantly improved the lives of many thousands of stricken children in Australia, the United States and Europe for over four decades.
Elizabeth Kenny’s principles of muscle rehabilitation became the foundation of the field of Physical Therapy, or Physiotherapy. Sister Kenny was a real feminist.
“Science is the belief in the ignorance of the experts.” – Richard Feynman (1918-88), an American theoretical physicist at CalTech ranked as one of the ten greatest physicists of all time who worked on the Manhattan Project, wrote about nanotechnology in 1959, received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1965 for his contributions to the development of quantum electrodynamics, and participated in the commission investigating the Challenger disaster in the 1980s.
Footnote #2. For 2010
1965: Population: 194,303,000 Labor: 74,455,000 (38%) (Not labor: 119,000,000)
2010: Population: 310,000,000 Labor: 158,000,000 (51%) (Not labor: 152,000,000)
Pop. increase: 115,000,000 (63%) Labor increase: 83,545,000 (47%) (Not increase: 78%)
A society in proper balance would have seen a labor force increase between 60% and 65%. These figures now are at the very start of the coming twenty year flood of Baby Boomers into retirement – that may very well sink the boat. There are simply not nearly enough productive taxpaying workers to pay the Baby Boomer retirement bills. Then there’s that humongous Medicare bill, too. All of this has been evident since about 1975.
Higher Education: The US has about 14,600,000 enrolled in college as full time students (6,600,000 male, 8,000,000 female). However, these numbers decline dramatically, especially for males (starting at around 40%, they then decline by over 60%), after the first year of undergraduate school – to about 6,300,000 total.
Of these, about 725,000 (11%) are foreign students. Most such students come from China, India, South Korea, Taiwan (all very heavy in physical sciences) and Canada. Similar to top male college sports like football, these foreign students bring in a net of about $21 Billion a year – which helps keep college costs from climbing even higher than they do. Their predominately math and science specialties are also sorely needed by a society whose own educational system fails to deliver. (About 45% of our university students in physical sciences are, in fact, foreign-schooled students.)
Footnote #3. Rewarding The “Special” People. The government even rewards people for gross incompetence. Consider one of the country’s most bloated and inept bureaucracies, Veteran’s Affairs. VA’s “Benefits Administration” (VBA) performance has steadily declined over the last five years. Since 2009, the average time it takes to process a disability claim from actual veterans has doubled, and now stands at 325 days (11 months). Cases that have lingered more than 125 days — and thus are officially considered “backlogged” — have also nearly doubled from about 37 percent in 2009 to almost 71 percent today. Nearly 800,000 veterans are awaiting an initial decision on whether they qualify for disability benefits because of service-connected conditions.
But none of this concerns top VBA employees with all that responsibility (sic) but no accountability. The total tab for performance bonuses paid to VA officials in the senior executive service was about $16.9 million over five years. Here’s how the government rewarded just three of its top women, who already are paid the best salaries and benefits in the country, with extra money. The biggest bonuses went to two of the agency’s top officials. VBA Chief of Staff Lois Mittelstaedt collected performance (sic) bonuses of almost $108,000 over five years. Diana Rubens, the deputy undersecretary for field operations, who oversees the 57 regional offices, got almost $97,000. Both had a salary of $179,700 in 2011 (the most recent year for which data was available). One of the VA’s worst-performing regional offices is in Phoenix, where the average wait time for a veteran to get a disability rating is almost 470 days — more than 15 months. Sandra Flint, who has been director of the Phoenix regional office for about eight years, has received at least $53,109 in bonuses since 2007, including more than $21,000 in merit bonuses. (Source: Washington Times, May 2013.)
As “eternal victims”, of course, women cannot be held accountable; they can only be handed top positions of “responsibility”. (Responsibility – accountability = zero. It’s called exercising your affirmative action “right” to fill a space in time, and getting paid very well indeed for doing so – for the third straight generation and counting.) A majority of government employees are women, and they are rewarded for their incompetence throughout that government just as are these three top VA women. Not only do we now import the babies we need to survive, we also import the brains – all while the natives worship their glorious navels, and whine. Not an actual thinker in the lot.
Footnote #4. “Equal”, But Not Really. I remember a portrait picture that Time magazine published on its cover a decade or so ago. It showed four “brave” women who “blew the whistle” on questionable and perhaps illegal practices used by the four different companies that employed them. Women all over the country saw them as heroes, and they were invited to countless women’s TV talk shows to recount their heroics for adoring female audiences. The actions which made them famous, which amounted to providing evidence to law enforcement, were probably laudable, but what risk did it really present to them? Zero. All were well-off wives of successful husbands with independent careers. Even if they lost their jobs, it wouldn’t have cost them much at all. (Some were still employed in those companies.) I couldn’t help contrasting their example with that of one of the most important whistle-blowers of all time, a guy who just a little earlier had actually been an executive of the largest and most influential tobacco company in America.
That was a case that involved the health of billions of people all over planet Earth. In revealing company secrets and pointing the finger at not only his own company and the entire tobacco industry with a scientist’s expertise, this whistle-blower also condemned himself. The guy was the very definition of brave. Not only did the company constantly harass him and his family, engage in a string of dirty tricks to destroy his reputation and even the sanctity of his own home, and ensure that he was henceforth unemployable, his actions cost him many years of court litigation, which quickly deprived him of most of his possessions, and even his jerk wife predictably divorced him and took what little was left, including his kids. He spent years voluntarily testifying under oath before almost every official entity in the nation. The formerly very wealthy executive now teaches science in a high school to make ends meet and pay his alimony and child support.
Compared to this giant of a man, those four women looked like second-grade tattle tales biting one of the many hands that fed them, knowing full well it would probably get extra helpings from the rest. But American women never view such things in the context of the whole; they are solely concerned with their part of the whole in isolation for their own petty self-interests, damned the consequences to anyone else. All that those four women were doing was carrying out their sacred mission in life: screwing over those evil men. Under their definition of “equality”, it’s all about “me”. Time sold a lot of magazines with that cover, just like it was 1950, to the majority of our population that has been running steadily in reverse. What do you suppose are the chances that any American women would ever blow the whistle on herself?
I am totally struck by the absolute symmetry between your views and my own – including the total lack of the claimed hatred of women that is so often the accusation against those who oppose lies with truth. I was referred to your site by a young man who is equally concerned – there is hope for them yet.
We – you and I – have many similarities (no details permitted). Ding Hao.
Thank you for your comments. And a “Number One!” back at you. :o) (Can’t figure out why many of the guys who drop me a line seem to be Air Force.)
I am actually very “pro-woman”, but, as a man who believes in democratic equality, am very strongly opposed to birthright entitlement, double standards, favoritism – for anyone. Fearing the tyranny of an irresponsible majority, I also know that my nation cannot survive unless all its citizens restore an equal level of responsibility to each and every one of the rights they claim.
While it may get lost in my rhetoric, my heroes are women like Sergeant Monica Brown, a combat medic with the Regular Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, who actually earn their right to lead by demonstrating their willingness and ability to assume responsibility for others – from the front – as fully equal members of a competitive meritocracy team of “us”. She is fully equaled in her role by educated married women who elect to remain in the home raising two or more healthy well-educated kids of both genders needed to assume such leadership roles in America tomorrow – the most important full-time responsibility role there is. Dabbling part-time in a range of roles while farming out the tough parts is just stupid.
Self-involved “me-ism” wallowing in eternal victimhood is killing us slowly, with a smile. It’s time for everyone to just shut up, grow up and do something positive, to make a professional level of contribution to our society full-time in their single role of choice. Like men, women need to make their choice well before age 30 and stick with it until it’s done, not repeatedly change their minds in some childish quest to “have it all” that serves no one but themselves. Men need to start demanding the same standards of women that women demand of men. There is nothing inherently “superior” or “inferior” about either gender; how one lives up to their chosen responsibility role is the only measure that counts. Life is tough; deal with it.
(And, just for the record, because it often gets lost among other matters in discussions concerning a civil society: Trying to forcibly impose your own will on anyone, whether such violence be physical or psychological, is intimidating activity of twisted brutes who fully deserve a double measure in kind. Unless it takes place as authorized by the established rules of a sanctioned sport, the only violence that has a legitimate place in a civil society is that exercised legally and with due restraint, in full compliance with our Constitution. Guys like me don’t risk our lives abroad for principles that are undermined by self-interests at home.)
Recently I was greatly disappointed by the treatment of Command Sergeant Major Teresa King, the first woman commandant of the Army Drill Sergeant School; she has a legitimate complaint about a factor not of her choosing. Only two ranks have stars in the Army: generals and command sergeants major. She deserved better. Now we have the following news article. (I always say that American women get whatever they want, if enough of them can decide just what that is. But, in this case, I think the suit by just two Army women will succeed.)
2 female Army officers sue to reverse combat ban
Associated Press, 25 May 2012
By ZINIE CHEN SAMPSON
RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Two women in the Army Reserve ((Command Sgt. Maj. Jane Baldwin and Col. Ellen Haring)) have sued the U.S. Department of Defense and the Army in a bid to reverse military policies banning women from serving in combat roles.
The lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia accuses the government of violating the constitutional rights of servicewomen by excluding them from certain ground combat units and other positions solely on the basis of their gender. It seeks to end such policies by the Defense Department and Army and to require the military to make all assignments and training decisions without regard to a service member’s gender. Etc.
(Naturally, and unfortunately, the suit addresses discrimination resulting in financial disadvantage, rather than in discrimination prohibiting assuming an equitable level of responsibility. It’s the world we live in…. Still…. “The ((Defense)) Department remains committed to removing barriers that prevent service members from rising to their highest potential, based on each person’s ability and not constrained by gender-restrictive policies,” ((spokesman Todd)) Breasseale said.)
One of the most astounding feats that occurring during the initial 2003 ground assault on Baghdad was the secret advance construction under fire at night of an absolutely critical combat bridge across the very wide river by a team led by a woman Army captain. That major structure was completed just before dawn and allowed the massively powerful 3rd Division to keep on rolling at full speed, without missing a beat. Soaking wet and caked with mud, she stood there proudly with her team next to their bridge and waved the roaring mechanized 24,000-man division, with all its vehicles and supply train, on through, her M4 ever at the ready. Now, baby, that’s leadership, under incredibly extreme pressure. At that moment, I would have gladly voted for her to become President. It didn’t make any difference to me if that soldier was a sergeant or a general, a man or a woman; she and her team delivered, when it counted most. It’s witnessing moments like that that make you incredibly proud to be an American soldier, to know that nothing is impossible. I haven’t been able to determine if she’s the same women, but Colonel Haring was also a bridge commander in her 28-year career.
I guess the main thing with me is to keep emphasizing responsibilities whenever someone mentions rights.
David Brooks is one of the best and most moderately balanced thinker-writers in the country, but even he won’t touch the deadliest “third rail” on the planet – American feminism. His article (below) is condensed so much that it’s difficult to follow, so the reader has to actually study what he’s saying – which 99% of readers won’t do. The article offers a summary of work on the subject of our society’s dysfunction, first from various political perspectives, and then points out that it is not politics that must guide solutions, but sociology and psychology. ((Comments in double parentheses are mine.))
The Materialist Fallacy
By DAVID BROOKS, Op-Ed Columnist
New York Times, February 13, 2012
The half-century between 1912 and 1962 was a period of great wars and economic tumult but also of impressive social cohesion. Marriage rates were high. Community groups connected people across class.
In the half-century between 1962 and the present, America has become more prosperous, peaceful and fair, but the social fabric has deteriorated. Social trust has plummeted. Society has segmented. The share of Americans born out of wedlock is now over 40 percent and rising.
As early as the 1970s, three large ((political)) theories had emerged to explain the weakening of the social fabric.
Liberals congregated around an economically determinist theory. The loss of good working-class jobs undermined communities and led to the social deterioration. ((This problem was aggravated by too many people suddenly demanding access to a finite number of jobs.))
Libertarians congregated around a government-centric theory. Great Society programs enabled people to avoid work and gave young women an incentive to have children without marrying. ((The Greatest Generation terminated many of the Great Society’s programs during the 1970s when the results proved to be opposite of the intent, but some programs were left in place and most others quickly returned in different guises.))
Neo-conservatives had a more culturally deterministic theory. Many of them had been poor during the Depression. Economic stress had not undermined the family then. Moreover, social breakdown began in the 1960s, a time of unprecedented prosperity. They argued that the abandonment of traditional bourgeois norms led to social disruption, especially for those in fragile circumstances. ((The Greatest Generation had put in place a very dynamic society, but one which required continued thinking well into the future, while their children were only interested in the present.))
((All of these theories were partially correct, but they avoided the critical unifying human factor.))
Over the past 25 years, though, a new body of ((sociological and psychological)) research has emerged, which should lead to new theories. This research tends to support a few common themes.
First, no matter how social disorganization got started, once it starts, it takes on a momentum of its own. People who grow up in disrupted communities are more likely to lead disrupted lives as adults, magnifying disorder from one generation to the next.
Second, it’s not true that people in disorganized neighborhoods have bad values. Their goals are not different from everybody else’s. It’s that they lack the social capital to enact those values.
Third, while individuals are to be held responsible for their behavior, social context is more powerful than we thought. If any of us grew up in a neighborhood where a third of the men dropped out of school, we’d be much worse off, too. ((i.e., responsibility needs to be placed in social context.))
The recent research details how disruption breeds disruption. This research includes the thousands of studies on attachment theory, which show that children who can’t form secure attachments by 18 months face a much worse set of chances for the rest of their lives because they find it harder to build stable relationships. ((This is a major problem for boys, many of whom lack adequate male role models. Furthermore, if just one generation of fathers is sidelined, the next generation has no reference point. Men who now follow women’s instructions are not fathers, but servants – usually required to do tasks women don’t want to do, which makes everything a perverse travesty quickly rejected by children in the real world. The feminist “solution” is to turn everyone into one gender – “mine”.))
It includes the diverse work on self-control by Walter Mischel, Angela Duckworth, Roy Baumeister and others, which shows, among other things, that people raised in disrupted circumstances find it harder to control their impulses throughout their lives. ((This arises from rights trumping responsibilities.))
It includes the work of Annette Lareau, whose classic book, “Unequal Childhoods,” was just updated last year. She shows that different social classes have radically different child-rearing techniques, producing different outcomes. ((This is why I fervently hope that Hispanics, and Asians, too, don’t become “Americanized” too quickly, that they will retain many of their native basic values through the tumultuous “assimilation” years.))
Over the past two weeks, Charles Murray’s book, “Coming Apart,” has restarted the social disruption debate. But, judging by the firestorm, you would have no idea that the sociological and psychological research of the past 25 years even existed.
Murray neglects this research in his book. Meanwhile, his left-wing critics in the blogosphere have reverted to crude 1970s economic determinism: It’s all the fault of lost jobs. People who talk about behavior are blaming the victim. Anybody who talks about social norms is really saying that the poor are lazy.
Liberal economists haven’t silenced conservatives, but they have completely eclipsed liberal sociologists and liberal psychologists. Even non-economist commentators reduce the rich texture of how disadvantage is actually lived to a crude materialism that has little to do with reality.
I don’t care how many factory jobs have been lost, it still doesn’t make sense to drop out of high school. The influences that lead so many to do so are much deeper and more complicated than anything that can be grasped in an economic model or populist slogan.
This economic determinism would be bad enough if it was just making public debate dumber.
But the amputation of sociologic, psychological and cognitive considerations makes good policy impossible.
The American social fabric is now so depleted that even if manufacturing jobs miraculously came back we still would not be producing enough stable, skilled workers to fill them. It’s not enough just to have economic growth policies. The country also needs to rebuild orderly communities.
This requires bourgeois paternalism: Building organizations and structures that induce people to behave responsibly rather than irresponsibly and, yes, sometimes using government to do so.
Social repair requires sociological thinking. The depressing lesson of the last few weeks is that the public debate is dominated by people who stopped thinking in 1975.
((Precisely. But you can’t induce “people” to behave responsibly without first inducing “feminists” to do so. “Values” in this country are set by feminists, and they accept no responsibility beyond themselves; as always, it’s all about their rights, about birthright entitlement. Worse, our “thinking” is far too simplistic. The first step would be to get government and courts to undo some of the damage both have done to the social context in response to feminists’ demands over the past forty years. But now that women are the super-majority of voters, how is that even imaginable? So the game goes to “me”, until it’s over.))