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February 19, 2005

HBD does Sweden, yet again

Given the reporting of TangoMan on the rather sordid affair of Gender Feminism as official state ideology in Sweden, it’s interesting to note that the non-gender feminist side has been gaining some traction in the media recently. First, well-known left-of-centre commentator Carl Hamilton made the case for Gender Feminism as Lysenkoism in left-wing Aftonbladet.

Then yesterday, professor of neurology Germund Hesslow argued for sex and gender as biologically determined categories on the "Debatt" page of Dagens Nyheter (DN), Sweden’s premier morning paper. DN columnists have ventured into this territory before, but then only in a somewhat less serious manner.

This was no half-throated Summer-esque argument either – there were very few “buts” and “ifs”. The case laid out is familiar to Gnxp.com readers, but it deserves to be recited, so that the full extent of DN:s heresy can be understood. After all, the DN op-ed page has notoriously stringent gatekeepers, and having an opinion piece published there is not a run-of-the-mill feat.

Given Sweden's status as beacon for Egalitarians everywhere, the debate here is not unimportant - so having an idea of how things are going on this side of the pond could very well be useful.

Extensive quoting from Hesslow’s article follows:

Equality between the sexes can mean many different things. Not long ago, it meant that men and women should have the same rights, and that discrimination should be counteracted. No one today defends discrimination of women.

What is today strived for under the banner of equality, however, appears to be that men and women should be equally represented in all walks of life, from the rearing of infants to different educational and professional choices. If young men and young women decide on having divergent educations, that is a problem to be eliminated through use of quotas or “affirmative action”. If girls dress up as princesses and boys as pirates, parents and child-care staff are told to encourage gender-neutral games instead.

There are many reasons to reject this striving for sameness, however. Let me introduce some of them:

1. Men and women are biologically different. A sameness of behaviour of the kind strived for by modern feminism is impossible.

2. There is no reason to wish for a larger sameness.

3. The discrimination of women in society has been strongly exaggerated.

Differences between sexes are many and well-documented. It is for instance well-known that men on average have a larger capacity for spatial thinking and mathematical problem solving. Women have a larger verbal capacity and a better memory for details. Men are more aggressive and risk-taking. Women are more nursing in disposition, especially regarding infants. There are important differences between how men and women perceive sexuality. Women are choosier in mate selection and feel more tied to a man to whom they have committed. Men have an easier time to engage in low-commitment and short-term sexual relations. These and a large number of other differences give men and women different preferences in many life choices.

He goes on with some other rather well established notions, which nonetheless probably caused a few knocked-over cups of coffee at Swedish breakfast tables.

Research on the hereditability of psychological traits, for instance studies of monozygotic twins, indicate that upbringing and social environment has limited impact on many basic temperamental traits. Adopted children are significantly more similar to their biological siblings, compared to their adopted ones.

The Darwinian background of differences is also noted:

Many of the differences also match established evolutionary mechanisms very well. Men can have far more children than women, which means that they have more to gain (in terms of offspring) from promiscuity, risk taking and competition with other men. The reproductive capacity of women is more limited, and varies less than that of men, and thus has more to gain from careful partner selection. The reproduction of women is also more dependent on how well they care for and protect their children.

In certain areas where no significant average difference between the sexes is present, as with General Intelligence, men display a far larger variation, which means that more men are found both among the most and least gifted.

In short, this was pretty potent stuff. Let’s see how Sweden’s state-feminist nomenclature handles it. My guess: not very well.

Posted by dobeln at 08:21 PM