Get PJ Media on your Apple

Belmont Club

Coincidence

February 10th, 2014 - 6:23 pm

The word “happenstance” is used to describe things that coincide by chance. This week has brought two instances, the first when I wrote The Late Great Manly Man and the second when mentioning the possible reinstatement of canceled insurance policies under Obamacare.

As it happens Rich Tucker wrote about the campaign to eliminate manly men on the very same day. In an article titled Embracing the Difference, Tucker reviewed Hanna Rosin’s claim that the days of men are numbered, as summarized in her article The End of Men.

What if the modern, postindustrial economy is simply more congenial to women than to men? … Once you open your eyes to this possibility, the evidence is all around you. It can be found, most immediately, in the wreckage of the Great Recession, in which three-quarters of the 8 million jobs lost were lost by men. The worst-hit industries were overwhelmingly male and deeply identified with macho: construction, manufacturing, high finance. …

Women dominate today’s colleges and professional schools—for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same. Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women. Indeed, the U.S. economy is in some ways becoming a kind of traveling sisterhood: upper-class women leave home and enter the workforce, creating domestic jobs for other women to fill.

The other coincidence came today, when the White House announced another delay — don’t say “suspension” — of yet another Obamacare provision. The Washington Post writes: “For the second time in a year, the Obama administration is giving certain employers extra time before they must offer health insurance to almost all their full-time workers.”

As word of the delays spread Monday, many across the ideological spectrum viewed them as an effort by the White House to defuse another health-care controversy before the fall midterm elections. The new postponements won over part, but not all, of the business community. And they caught consumer advocates, usually reliable White House allies, by surprise, particularly because administration officials had already announced in July that the employer requirements would be postponed from this year until 2015.

Anyone who has followed the travails of Obamacare knew something like this was in the works. I wrote just yesterday that “eventually the exemptions become the rule and Potemkinism becomes general. Industry analyst Robert Lazewski notes that Washington is now mulling the possibility of reinstating all the policies that Obamacare canceled for at least 3 more years. The health program is so great they are thinking of exempting everyone from it for a time. It will be Potemkin all the way down.”

But as Tolkien observed so many decades ago,  happenstance may just be another term for events ripening. Things come together, though we realize it only after the fact. And we say it just so happened.

When you think of the Battle of Pelennor, do not forget the battles in Dale and the valor of Durin’s Folk. Think of what might have been. Dragon-fire and savage swords in Eriador, night in Rivendell. There might be no Queen in Gondor. We might now hope to return from the victory here to ruin and ash. But that has been adverted — because I met Thorin Oakenshield one evening on the edge of spring in Bree. A chance-meeting, as we say in Middle-earth.

Guessing that Obamacare would get another exemption was easy, and I’ll explain why in a bit.  But before I do, Rosin’s thesis deserves some attention. One should point out that the “macho man” whose demise she predicts is not the manly man in the sense Homer understood.

Men were defined in Homer, not by their muscles, but by their place in culture.  Describing the Shield of Achilles Homer outlines the defenses of civilization. He places the heavens in the outermost sphere and within them fields and vineyards and bountiful cattle; and cities where law and weddings abide defended by men with “refulgent arms” who guard against the hosts which would pillage and despoil the circle enclosed.

Rosin seems to think that biceps make the man. That was never true. The manly men of Homer were not mindless brutes, but defenders of the worthy and esteemable. And so it remains today.

A fair idea of what a society consider heroic can be gleaned by reading citations for the Medal of Honor. A surprising number of Medal winners have nothing to do with killing the enemy or performing prodigies of strength. Many awards are simply to someone who rolled over a hand grenade. It’s been awarded to pacifists like Desmond Doss who carried 75 wounded men to safety on an Okinawan battlefield. It was awarded to a chaplain, the Jesuit Joseph O’Callahan who led fire-fighting teams into red-hot munitions magazines and administered the Last Rites to wounded men all over the burning and fragment-swept deck. The nation gave it to Howard Gilmore, skipper of the USS Growler, for nothing more than, when finding himself wounded on the bridge, ordering his men below and leaving him behind on that lonely perch before issuing his final order: “take her down”.

There may be cultures where manliness is a mere athletic attribute, measured by the number of heads one can lop off. But at least until recently, Western manliness meant not brutishness but culture. Being a bulwark of “the ashes of his fathers and the temples of his gods”, a circle on the Shield of Achilles. Rosin may think the time for such things has passed; that we can safely do without them, or breed such things out of existence; condemn them as unruly, inapt to lessons, over-reluctant to sit down. But I think we shall find future coincidences to suggest the contrary.

It may be opportune to point out that nature keeps repeating certain motifs. The Tennesean notes the rise in atheist churches.

East Nashville’s places of worship get moving mid-morning on Sundays, a suit-wearing man arranging traffic cones outside Liberty Christian Bible Church, a white-haired woman easing herself into East End Methodist, the doors of Woodland Presbyterian flung wide to reveal a banner bearing a cross flanked by flames.

At Five Points, people file into The Building, many holding paper coffee cups from the shop across the street, for the first of two services of the atheist group Sunday Assembly.

Launched in London just over a year ago by comedians Sanderson Jones and Pippa Evans, the group has grown to 37 Sunday Assemblies across the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States….

In some ways, a morning at Sunday Assembly Nashville looks a lot like church. A band played as people walked in, but the jazzy tune was more New Orleans on Saturday night than Nashville on Sunday morning.

Parents dropped their kids off at the nursery, but instead of reading Bible stories and coloring pictures of Noah’s Ark, children watched “Happy Feet” and made Valentine’s Day cards for a senior center.

It’s trend that even the New York Times has noticed. Pippa and Sanderson Jones describe their atheist church in London.

The Sunday Assembly’s goal is to help people enjoy more of the former, and avoid the latter. In essence we want to help people (ourselves included) to live better, help often and wonder more.

Thus, instead of atheism making the world a cold, unfeeling and alienating place, it can make it richer, deeper and more profound. Compared to the eternal nada that awaits, transcendence can be found in a breath of wind on your face or in a mouthful of custard tart. Now, please, close your eyes, open your hearts and join me in a prayer to Richard Dawkins.

About all one can say is they are late to the party. Before Pippa and Sanderson there was Karl with his Worker’s Paradise, the Other Jones of the People’s Temple in Guyana.  For some reason people just seem drawn to doing the same things, even if they label them differently. The recurrence of themes — happenstance if you will — suggests that modernity, with its fads and schemes to redo the world from its beginnings has insufficiently accounted for Eternity. It cannot filter out the context within which man evolved and the forces with which he contends in the universe.

That should not be surprising. That is precisely what the anthrophic principle  argues: that what we call coincidence is the outcome of the fact that we are tuned to the universe; and having arisen from that ground our thoughts and instincts bear its signature.

From that point of view reality is real; or at least it is not wholly fictive. We cannot escape it or simply dismiss it as a cultural construct which can be declared live or dead according to the whims of intellectuals or bureaucrats.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. The reason it was so easy to predict that Obamacare would need exemptions is that nobody beats arithmetic.  In such an environment the same themes recur, not because we play them, but because the spheres were humming the background beat all along.

Coincidences

Coincidences


Did you know that you can purchase some of these books and pamphlets by Richard Fernandez and share them with you friends? They will receive a link in their email and it will automatically give them access to a Kindle reader on their smartphone, computer or even as a web-readable document.

The War of the Words for $3.99, Understanding the crisis of the early 21st century in terms of information corruption in the financial, security and political spheres
Rebranding Christianity for $3.99, or why the truth shall make you free
The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99, reflections on terrorism and the nuclear age
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99, why government should get small
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99. Fiction. A flight into peril, flashbacks to underground action.
Storm Over the South China Sea $0.99, how China is restarting history in the Pacific
Tip Jar or Subscribe or Unsubscribe

Top Rated Comments   
“for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same”

This is no coincidence. Women and minorities are still given preferential treatment and feminist fascist dogma would have it no other way. It is apparent that the purpose wasn’t ever equality but supremacy such as our Sappho author announces with not a hint of empathy. Meanwhile, the government is fixing the world of yesteryears problems in an overarching, over correcting white knuckled societal crash once called pissing in the soup.

Children? We must import the simpletons of the 3rd world to stock our factories so we can compete against other 3rd world nations with an even larger crop of government sponsored half-wits while the nanny state is eternally busy child-proofing the once free lands. Our princesses will grow to be strong enough and so full of love enough to murder their offspring as a blood sacrifice to the god of state who’s thirst can only be slaked with the abomination of special rights.

Forty million souls shriek in anguish, “Please don’t kill me mommy.”

Meanwhile the fantastic warrior princess trains to be a male expecting her ovaries to descend so that she shall rule as a malevolent king. Balls!
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"... the wreckage of the Great Recession, in which three-quarters of the 8 million jobs lost were lost by men ..."

The Oughties represented the very peak of Peak Government. Around the world, the growth industry of the last four decades has been "government" -- which mostly means women sitting in cubicles shuffling papers. And those female government workers cannot be fired. They have jobs until the Titanic sinks. Thus, men were disproportionately affected by recent job losses. But women should not take too much heart from their male counterparts discomfiture.

"Women dominate today’s colleges and professional schools—for every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same."

Or, to restate, women have been disproportionately suckered into incurring massive student loans for BAs with questionable economic value, especially as the growth of female-employing government bureaucracies stutters to a halt.

In the long run, there will be a return to something which is so obvious that it eludes academics -- the economy is driven by production. When the Chinese stop trading real goods & services for US IOUs, government will shrink and production-related jobs will return to the US. That may take a few years or a few generations, but it will happen. The reign of the credentialed female government worker will be transient.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
There is very little happenstance in what we are living through. Men have been devalued in our society, with no positive role for them in our top-down culture. It is not, therefore, surprising that men are feeling less and less need to support that society and culture. Some become Pajama Boys, and attempt to become lesser versions of the idealized Female. Some just say Ni3 ta1ma1 de5 tian1xia4 suo3you3 de5 ren2 dou1 gai1si3. and go their own way. Why go to school, when schools are biased against males? Why join the corporate rat race, when you are doomed to be a second class citizen, expendable, and subordinate to whatever the currently higher priority protected class is. Why marry and form [and support] families, when no-fault divorce means you can be removed from that family at will with no cause, and be pillaged in the process? The one good thing is that the "sexual liberation of women" and abandonment of ANY standards of ethics or morality means that men can get sex outside of marriage at will, so long as they are careful to avoid paternity.

This is not a path to societal survival, but the decisions we have collectively made in the past have placed us here.

Similar decisions we have made have left us with a tyrannical Executive that rules by decree at will, a Congress that is immune to electoral loss and sees its future in active collaboration with the Executive, and a Judiciary that; whether by bribery, blackmail, or venal seeking after position, makes the Constitution into the opposite of what it was written to be.

The thing is, while if our society is not stable and is doomed to collapse; the end state is neither sure or knowable. But I am betting that during the transition; neither the post-industrial "professional feminists", the Pajama Boys, nor the elite at the top are going to survive the transition well.

Subotai Bahadur
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (42)
All Comments   (42)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Not entirely on topic, but the quote from "Horatius", these days, always makes me remember the verses following:

Then none was for a party,
Then all were for the state;
Then the great man helped the poor,
And the poor man loved the great;
Then lands were fairly portioned.
Then spoils were fairly sold:
The Romans were like brothers
In the brave days of old.

Now Roman is to Roman
More hateful than a foe,
And the tribunes beard the high,
And the fathers grind the low.
As we wax hot in faction,
In battle we wax cold;
Wherefore men fight not as they fought
In the brave days of old.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Annoy Mouse said "We must import the simpletons of the 3rd world to stock our factories so we can compete against other 3rd world nations with an even larger crop of government sponsored half-wits while the nanny state is eternally busy child-proofing the once free lands."

We must import??? Heck, why not spend some capital for smart machines run by native born hamburger flippers? As we have discussed previously, introducing technology into McDonalds restaurants dropped the cost of producing a reproducible french fry that became the basis of their brand. The "flippers' couldn't (or preferred not to learn) how to boil water at home. But flipping with a paycheck had an attraction cooking at home did not.

The lust for spending cash is the mother of perspiration.

Just make sure the old adage still holds, "money talks, BS walks".
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Q. "Heck, why not spend some capital for smart machines run by native born hamburger flippers?"--MachiasPrivateer

A. Because girls don't want to get their hands dirty or risk breaking a nail running machines.
_______
Question Authority. Ask me anything.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
"We have a saying in Chicago Mr. Bond. Once is happenstance. Twice is coincidence. Three times it's enemy action."
- ian Fleming, "Goldfinger"
(From memory, apologies if misquoted)
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
''Ni3 ta1ma1 de5 tian1xia4 suo3you3 de5 ren2 dou1 gai1si3'' (below somewhere)

What?
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
It involves involuntary, and terminal for the recipients, intercourse with the entire population of the universe.

Yeah, I pull obscure things out of various places; the phrase seemed to fit what I intended.

Subotai Bahadur
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Gutter Cantonese?
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
I suspect in time, men will move into the field's women currently dominate - to paraphrase Willie Sutton - because that is where the money is - and because men are willing and can work longer hours than women. It won't happen over night but it will happen.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, come on - Sam just made a brilliant career move. What NFL team could possibly turn him down now? Talent/performance totally trumped by PC imperatives. Heck, even if he isn't actually gay, why not make the claim, just for the guaranteed shoo-in? I'll bet there are quite a few middle-rank college players that are doing a repentant face-palm about now.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
It really is not coincidence that Michael Sam gets the heroic treatment, nonstop discussion and coverage everywhere, and even a tweet directly from MO ‘courage on and off the field’ and ‘an inspiration to all of us’.

What these activists envisioned and striving for, the modern culture, unfortunately is not shared by all. It is not as if we don't have enemies, entities who want to do us ill, who can't wait for us to 'finished the experiment'. Heck, probably some allies too.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
A deeper understanding of culture begins with the question, what is it for? The question is central to the (academically marginal but intellectually first rank) discipline of Generative Anthroplogy whose answer is "the deferral of (primarily male) violence through representation." The work of culture (language, religion, the esthetic) first emerged to defer a situation in which the animal pecking order was breaking down and a new kind of order centred on representation was discovered ( or for the religious, given) to mediate the threat of disorder. And since the threat of disorder due to continuing rivalry (that no alpha male can control) never goes away, the work of representation must continually evolve. The fundamental things survive by being continually mistaken and reworked.

This understanding of the purpose of culture is implicit, for example, in Judaism where only men are required to attend religious services. The official story is that men are weak and in need of the discipline, while women come well formed to their roles. Of course male "dominance" in the shul has been a cause for feminist complaints, not that women are forbidden from leading their own services - it is just not required by the religion. Anyway, demanding male attendance at prayer/study, separate from women, does not mean that the typical Jewish home, the real centre of Jewish life, is male dominated, often quite the opposite. Men achieve, to a large degree, to the extent they are pushed by mothers and wives.

Culture is a discipline the male needs most of all, and more than he wants, though the woman is perfectly capable of acquiring it. But does woman need it in the same way or extent? Are the women acquiring university degrees pushing each other to master or create a cultural tradition? Do they feel a great need to discipline self and other creatively, or do they more easily succumb to the ministrations of a real of implicit matriarch (head noddingly)? It is much easier to resent the male than to pursue such questions. But since the problem of male violence is still with us, and the nukes and terrorism are spreading, the culture had better evolve or both male and female risk becoming toast. To recognize that the male is the first problem (which then leads to the woman problem with a male dominated cultural tradition) does not entail that his marginalization by victimary discourse is the solution.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bet you cannot say that in one sentence!
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Heh-- another coincidence: the release of the so-called Hillary Papers, i.e. the archive of memos and other documents recorded by Diane Blair, supposedly Mrs. Bubba's best friend, who died in 2000. Hillary comes across in the documents as cold, ruthless, and anything but a feminist-- that is, as ready to trash women who got in her way as to eliminate men. One interesting sidelight-- she was as dismissive of the MSM as most BCers are; according to Blair, "HC says press has big egos and no brains." Ironically, Hillary gave an address when Blair's archive was opened in 2010, saying, "With this collection, [Diane Blair’s] contributions will grow and live on, enlarging our understanding of history, politics and culture."

An electronic file of the original typescript is embedded at the bottom of the link, for those with strong stomachs. http://freebeacon.com/the-hillary-papers/
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Not to blow sunshine up your ass, but I'd trade the whole internet for your blog.
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
Ta-dada-dada-datda-dada-da
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
rock's sig line alright, but mem twitch was the sunshine not the funk in funktacular. in the song, the sun shines right through the person sung to. And as in the film trailer, the singer gonna stay with beloved, even if his seed's all dried up. More than one way to skin the cat immortal, i guess is what that line was about. Coincidences all around, but not like wws's story. That's not exactly coincidence, nor sychronicity, nor serendipity necessarily. Someone once called such a thing as receiving ''a wink from the cosmos''. Heck that sounds right ta me!
9 weeks ago
9 weeks ago Link To Comment
1 2 3 Next View All