The often-perceptive folks at the Economist have uncovered a link between polygamy and violence. If you read it through, you can learn some stuff that you might now know — I certainly didn’t know it. Turns out that a lot of terrorist/paramilitary organizations recruit members by promising them access to women and/or access to the tools they will need to acquire women in explicitly polygamous societies. It also appears that young men are rendered more susceptible to participation in terrorist organizations if their personal circumstances deny them access to women.
The prime example cited by the Economist is South Sudan, which gained its independence just five years ago and which has been the target of a comprehensive but indifferently successful campaign on the part of China to mold it into a satellite state for purposes of resource exploitation. Some dudes in South Sudan have a hundred wives. Some have two. Some just have one. And the vast majority have no wives at all. As you’d expect, South Sudan’s involuntarily-celibate crew has little to no interest in preserving the current political situation. They’re willing to do anything from cattle poaching to mass murder to outright political revolution if it gives them a chance at getting laid.
In other words, South Sudan is a place where 20% of the guys are getting 80% of the action, leaving 80% of the men disaffected, angry, and ready for trouble. Does this sound familiar? Maybe just a little bit?
Two and a half years ago, I suggested that polygamy in the United States was the natural consequence of relaxed attitudes towards what our profoundly unhip ancestors unironically called “the sanctity of marriage.” I also suggested that it would lead to an even more stark winners-and-losers situation for American men. It’s a trend that has been going on at least since 1965 or thereabouts. Turns out that the “sexual revolution” and “women’s lib” and all three waves of feminism have all combined to produce a very simple result: women have traded having the exclusive attention of an “average” man for the occasional attention of an “alpha” man.
(A brief note: I can’t say I much care for the “alpha/beta” labels that get applied as part of our modern discussion on sex and relationships, and I especially don’t care for the extensions like “gamma male” and “sigma male” and all the other crap. It’s a bad lens through which to view humanity. It also completely obscures the very important fact that women typically have a very different view of “alpha” from men, e.g.: being the biggest and fastest 15 Novice BMX racer in central Ohio seemed pretty alpha at the time, and I certainly had the respect of my peers, but I don’t recall any women ever being impressed by it. Similarly, I can think of at least two short, kinda-slimy fellows in my acquaintance who have managed to pull off a surprisingly large number of panties in their career. One was a salesman and one was a guitarist; I think that they both looked “alpha” to women when they were in their element.)
Just in case you’re too young, or too old, to have noticed, the primary sexual idea behind feminism was female choice. No longer would women have their marriages arranged. No longer would they settle down with the nice boy who asked them to the senior dance just because said boy was going to wind up owning his father’s hardware store. Feminist women were free to pursue their own desires.
One of the oddest side effects of this philosophy has been the female decision that eighty percent of men are below average looking. This doesn’t bother me in the slightest; I’ve long gotten used to the idea of being the ugliest man in any room where nobody was having a seizure at the time. I do, however, feel some sympathy for my perfectly normal male friends who wind up being completely invisible to women.
Another interesting fact: although liberated women tend to be interested in men their own age, the “successful” interactions heavily favor older men.
In other words, what “modern love” has brought us is a world where older men are sleeping with multiple younger women. That sounds suspiciously like nearly every human society prior to the arrival of the Industrial Revolution in Europe. It kind of looks like monogamous marriage backed by society might be an aberration. Dennis Prager claims that it was a Jewish invention, and I have troubling refuting that claim with the available evidence.
We will therefore look back at the twentieth-century Western world as a brief time in history where polygamy, legal or de facto, took a short break so a vast army of “beta males” could marry women and have families just because they were willing to work nine to five at the local office or assembly plant. It was Bede’s sparrow, except in this case the “sparrow” was the merely average man. He had one hundred years out of 150,000. Hope it worked out for him.
Never mind that. We are back to the original pattern now, exemplified by at-least-thirteen-kids-by-at-least-four-women Ferdinand Piech on the upper side and “Bring da movies” man on the lower side. Each one of them occupying the attentions of multiple women and therefore by statistical necessity leaving multiple men alone. This was less of a problem when our society periodically threw a half-million bodies into the meat grinders of Gettysburg or the Somme or Stalingrad, but given the remarkably high number of young men today who have never so much as broken a bone it’s going to be a real problem going forward.
Some time ago, I had a discussion with my son’s mother in which she expressed a sincere desire that he would grow up to have a nice middle-class job and a devoted wife. I had to laugh in response. Neither of those outcomes exists for what we can now call the 80/20 Future. Thirty years from now, my son won’t have the option of being a $100,000-a-year office-bound nonentity. Those jobs are disappearing faster than the passenger pigeon did. The future looks like Brazil. Eighty percent or more in the favelas and twenty percent or less observing them uneasily from the gated communities. It won’t be easy to get into the twenty percent and for most people it won’t be easy to stay there.
The same will be true for dating and sex. The quarterback of his high school football team in the year 2027 will have slept with twenty or more girls by the time he graduates. The vast majority of his classmates will be stuck playing video games and watching pornography. The average man is below average. The average woman would rather “date” the quarterback on alternate Tuesdays than spend every day with the nice boy from her math class who doesn’t make any particular impression on her.
The natural outcome of the 80/20 principle is to become the 81/19 principle, then the 82/18 principle, and so on, and so forth. Until something happens to shake things up. Go back and read your history. Fortunes are made and lost in times of war, firstborn children are slaughtered, outcomes are altered, chaos reigns, things fall apart, the center cannot hold. The so-called beta man knows this in his heart. He knows that his chances at everything from wealth to sex increase dramatically when there is blood in the streets.
And that’s why the terrorist organizations of South Sudan don’t have to promise much to fill their ranks. The mere fact of terrorism is good news for these fellows. You never know — the next victim of a terrorist operation might be the fellow with a hundred and ten wives. His death opens up the playing field. Regardless of what happens, however, any outcome short of death is an improvement for the South Sudanese fellow who knows with ironclad certainty that he will never get laid unless something changes.
Well, at least we don’t have anything like that going on here in the United States. Right?
Ah, but they’re an isolated, minor group with no support.
It’s okay, people are still more concerned with their bread and circuses than they are with participating in culture wars or civil unrest.
But we will be okay as long as people have individual prosperity, even if it’s financed by a bit of borrowing from the future.
It’s at this point that most mainstream media articles show you a survey to reassure you that things aren’t really that bad and that you should continue to behave as before. Well, here’s a survey:
As I stated previously the average female “likes” 12% of men on Tinder. This doesn’t mean though that most males will get “liked” back by 12% of all the women they “like” on Tinder. This would only be the case if “likes” were equally distributed. In reality, the bottom 80% of men are fighting over the bottom 22% of women and the top 78% of women are fighting over the top 20% of men. … Figure 3 compares the income Gini coefficient distribution for 162 nations and adds the Tinder economy to the list. The United States Gini coefficient is higher than 62% of the world’s countries. The Tinder economy has a higher Gini coefficient than 95.1% of the countries in the world.
Buckle up, ladies and gentlemen: this bus makes a lot of stops along the way but the destination looks a lot like South Sudan.