2020 Jun 27, 10:58am
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Mary HarringtonLast week, World War 3 nearly started in Ladakh. A dry, high-altitude region of Indian Kashmir on the Himalayan border with China, it’s been the site of escalating tensions and military buildup for some time. On June 15, the first physical confrontation between the Indian and Chinese militaries for 45 years erupted, killing at least 20 Indian and 45 Chinese soldiers.There are all sorts of geopolitical reasons cited for the escalating tension between the world’s two most populous countries, but there is one more central and timeless problem that is going to drive both countries towards violence and instability — women. Or a lack of them.In his History of the Normans, written circa 1015, Dudo of St Quentin argued that the reason the Vikings went raiding was because they couldn’t find wives, an idea echoed by the Tudor antiquarian William Camden in his 1610 book Britannia. ‘Wikings’, Camden suggested, were what you got when there weren’t enough women to go round, resulting in an excess of young men hanging around full of machismo but without any prospect of finding a nice girl and settling down. (Viking literally means raider.)So, whenever these spare males “multiply’d themselves to a burdensom community”, Camden reports that an area would draw lots. Those of the young troublemakers chosen in the lottery would be sent off on a ship to make a nuisance of themselves overseas. Which they did.
One 2019 study showed that where polygyny — that is, multiple wives — is a social norm for higher-status men, attacks on neighbouring ethnic groups skyrocket. With a few men monopolising eligible women, the rest are forced to seek status and resources by attacking other tribes. ...Females in sexually dimorphic species don’t choose mates at random but select for traits that will give their offspring an advantage of some kind. ... Humans, being evolved creatures, do this too: ‘hypergamy’, or more colloquially ‘marrying up’, in practice means that the wealthier a man is, more women will consider him a desirable partner. ...Chinese history suggests that bachelors with no prospect of marriage are associated with banditry, violence and even civil war. The Nien rebellion of 1863 was driven by ‘bare branches’, as men with no prospect of marriage are called in China. ...Historically a common solution to the problem of ‘bare branches’ has been to divert them from domestic trouble-making to foreign expansionist warfare. The Viking raids on Britain were one result of this...Tempting though it may be to imagine that in the West progressive values have somehow abolished our evolved tendencies to intrasexual and inter-sexual competition for the best mates, evidence suggests otherwise. ...Although the sex ratio in the liberated West is the normal 105:100, today this isn’t translating straightforwardly into family formation. As women have become more educated and economically independent, researchers hoped hypergamy would fade away, with women becoming more willing to ‘marry down’. It would make sense: after all, a woman doing well in a demanding career might in theory have an easier life if she married a self-employed plasterer whose flexible schedule would let him deal with school runs and appointments.But after hundreds of thousands of years of evolving to prioritise mates with resources and status, it seems that many women still prefer to seek the ‘best’ potential partner. One recent US study showed that even where women are more educated than their partners, they’ll still show a preference for men who earn more than them. That is, high-flying women will disregard the plasterer and pursue an equally high-earning husband. ...social norms in favour of monogamous marriage have loosened over the decades since the 1960s — but this hasn’t made women less choosy about their partners. The number of American men under 30 who have never had sex tripled between 2008 and 2018 — but hasn’t risen nearly as rapidly for women. The only plausible explanation is that women are still having sex, but they’re competing for a smaller pool of desirable men and leaving the rest on the shelf.You only have to look at online dating advice for American men to see this at work: “Show her you aren’t the average video game playing, cheap beer drinking, couch potato loser she wants to avoid,” advises one article on cultivating the ‘Alpha male persona’.So even with normal sex ratios, our culture is creating a sort of flotsam of sexual no-hopers, composed of those males who simply aren’t impressive enough to attract anyone even for a fling, let alone a committed relationship. The grievances of this sexual underclass are creeping into our politics...“Sexual patterns that have emerged because of the decline of monogamy have seen a greater level of sexual choice for an elite of men and a growing celibacy among a large male population at the bottom of the pecking order. ...Bare branches also make for enthusiastic terrorists. ISIS used sexual slavery as a key plank in its recruiting pitch for foreign fighters. Like the ‘Wikings’, men who don’t have many prospects at home will take considerable risks if they think it’ll get them laid...Conversely, settling down de-radicalises: according to research by the Institute of Family Studies, people with children are less likely to express views consistent with white identity politics. Likewise the Saudi Arabian deradicalisation programme essentially involved getting extremists married, and has proved very effective.It’s difficult to tackle this subject without yourself getting accused of being ‘redpilled’ or a men’s rights activist.