Chesterton on female education

From G.K. Chesteron’s What’s Wrong with the World? published in 1908 but as modern as today.


I am often solemnly asked what I think of the new ideas about female education. But there are no new ideas about female education. There is not, there never has been, even the vestige of a new idea. All the educational reformers did was to ask what was being done to boys and then go and do it to girls; just as they asked what was being taught to young squires and then taught it to young chimney sweeps. What they call new ideas are very old ideas in the wrong place. Boys play football, why shouldn’t girls play football; boys have school colors, why shouldn’t girls have school-colors; boys go in hundreds to day-schools, why shouldn’t girls go in hundreds to day-schools; boys go to Oxford, why shouldn’t girls go to Oxford—in short, boys grow mustaches, why shouldn’t girls grow mustaches—that is about their notion of a new idea. There is no brain-work in the thing at all; no root query of what sex is, of whether it alters this or that, and why, anymore than there is any imaginative grip of the humor and heart of the populace in the popular education. There is nothing but plodding, elaborate, elephantine imitation. And just as in the case of elementary teaching, the cases are of a cold and reckless inappropriateness. Even a savage could see that bodily things, at least, which are good for a man are very likely to be bad for a woman.

Just how useless is modern economic theory

“The 1-2-3 Toolbox of Mainstream Economics: Promising Everything,
     Delivering Nothing”
   Bichler, Shimshon; Nitzan, Jonathan
  We write this essay for both lay readers and scientists, though mainstream
  economists are welcome to enjoy it too. Our subject is the basic toolbox of
  mainstream economics. The most important tools in this box are demand,
  supply and equilibrium. All mainstream economists – as well as many
  heterodox ones – use these tools, pretty much all the time. They are
  essential. Without them, the entire discipline collapses. But in our view,
  these are not scientific tools. Economists manipulate them on paper with
  impeccable success (at least in their own opinion). But the manipulations
  are entirely imaginary. Contrary to what economists tell us, demand, supply
  and equilibrium do not carry over to the actual world
: they cannot be
  empirically identified; they cannot be observed, directly or indirectly; and
  they certainly cannot be objectively measured. And this is a problem because
  science without objective empirical tools is hardly science at all.
   JEL: E13 C01 O47
   Keywords: demand,econometrics,equilibrium,neoclassical
   Date: 2021

I made it a point in teaching micro to drill into my students that no price was ever determined according to where the supply and demand curves for a product were thought to be.

The greatest woman of the twentieth century

In reviewing The Iron Lady I made the offhand comment that Margaret Thatcher had been the Greatest Woman of the Twentieth Century. The debate over the greatest man had taken place at the end of 1999 and the choices, at least in the English speaking world, were narrowed down to Sir Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Although there was some debate over which may have been the greater of the two, there did seem to be a distance between them and whoever might have been third.

Oddly, however, there was no one chosen as the Greatest Woman, and I suspect it is because there was no one who stood out to the same extent as Margaret Thatcher. She was clearly so far ahead of the rest that even to raise the question shows how much she stood out from all other possible choices. Whether you loved her, hated her or were merely indifferent, she along with Ronald Reagan, dominated the events of her time. But because she is a woman of the right, a classical liberal in the conservative tradition, those who typically hand out such laurels refused to raise the subject so that they could avoid even having to acknowledge how significant her role had been.

Margaret Thatcher inherited a Britain devastated by industrial mayhem following the Winter of Discontent and within half a decade returned sound governance to the UK. She endured the full impact of the miners’s strikes and restored industrial relations sanity by sheer force of will. She took on and prevailed against Argentina in the War in the Falklands. She strode like a colossus during the Cold War which she, along with Ronald Reagan and Pope John Paul II, were instrumental in bringing to a peaceful end through an unbending moral crusade against political evil. She demanded fiscal and monetary disciplines that ended the economic chaos of the 1970s. She drove privatisation and defended our entrepreneurially-driven system of free enterprise. She was a model for others to follow as many have done. She remains to this day the gold standard of a conviction politician on the right side of history. If being a force for good is what matters, Margaret Thatcher was undoubtedly the greatest woman of the twentieth century.

Originally posted January 20, 2012 and re-posted as a reminder what greatness in politics looks like.

The only answer is to set up a chaperone service inside Parliament House

From Tasmanian Speaker says Liberal senator questioned Brittany Higgins’ drunkenness.

Tasmanian MP Sue Hickey has told State Parliament that Liberal senator Eric Abetz said former federal staffer Brittany Higgins could have put national security at risk by getting “disgustingly drunk”…. “I casually asked the honourable Senator Eric Abetz if the minister allegedly accused of the alleged rape that occurred around 30 years ago was the honourable Christian Porter MP,” Ms Hickey told Tasmanian Parliament on Wednesday morning. “The senator quickly responded that yes, it was the first law officer of the nation, Christian Porter, but not to worry, the woman is dead and the law will protect him.”

Alas, the error the good Senator made was to assume that she was in any way worried how these more than thirty year old allegations might destabilise the government. Sen Abetz is alleged to have further added:

“‘As for that Higgins girl, anybody who is so disgustingly drunk, who would sleep with anybody, could have slept with one of our spies and put the security of our nation at risk,’ ” Ms Hickey said.

The report goes on:

Ms Hickey said she asked Senator Abetz why the security guards hadn’t stepped in knowing how drunk she appeared to be. “He responded abruptly that if any security member dared to question the validity of access to the Parliament, by anyone who held a security pass, they would be sacked,” she said. “I felt sick, knowing that the last line of protection for this young woman was not able to be provided due to the practices and protocols of that Parliament.”

No doubt the only answer is to set up a chaperone service inside Parliament House to provide that last line of protection. You know, as in the definition:

Chaperone: to stay with and take care of a young woman who is not married when she is in public.

The definition also added, “especially in the past”, but some ideas just seem to be perennial. If you cannot count on personal responsibility, obviously something else will need to be tried instead.

And if you have a moment, Prime Minister, could you also have a look at this

Chinese vessels photographed at Whitsun reef by the Philippines coast guard.

Philippines all at sea over arrival of 220 Chinese ships at disputed reef. Some detail from the story.

The presence of more than 200 suspected Chinese militia vessels at a disputed reef off the Philippines could be a prelude to violent clashes, according to a leading analyst who says the flotilla is only latest example of the superpower tightening the noose in the world’s most contested waterway. In the latest diplomatic flare-up over competing claims to the South China Sea, the Philippines has protested after its coastguard discovered the vessels moored at a boomerang-shaped reef that both nations claim.

Nothing to worry about, say the Chinese. However, as the story says:

The incident shapes as a litmus test in south-east Asia for US President Joe Biden’s new administration swiftly following its frosty diplomatic summit with China in Alaska last week. “Back in 2012 [China] took the Scarborough Shoal from the Philippines and [Barack] Obama didn’t see it as a red line and shortly thereafter we saw a spike in artificial island construction across the South China Sea,” said John Blaxland, professor of international security at the Australian National University. “They tested the waters and they knew the Americans weren’t going to bite. What we’re seeing now is a fresh one for the Biden administration and it comes after Alaska.”

A litmus test for Australia as well. Where’s the Minister of Defence?

Apparently the PM has failed to grasp how diabolical politics has become

Apparently the Prime Minister and I have something in common, which I learned from the first female president of the NSW Young Liberals, Catherine Cusack. This is what she said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has failed to grasp any understanding of how diabolical politics has become for women. Ms Cusack, a long-serving NSW upper house MP, said Mr Morrison “no doubt means well” but has no idea about the issues that are leaving Liberal women devastated about the state of the party…. “I hear so many stories from federal Liberal women, but they are too scared to speak up but I say to them that it is time to give Scott Morrison the information he needs.”

Since she is a long-serving NSW upper house MP, why doesn’t she just tell him, why doesn’t she just give him the information he needs? Who is in a better place to explain the problem than she is? In fact, why doesn’t she tell the rest of us as well since I am also in the dark about what the problem is. In fact, that is precisely why she was elected, to help inform the party leadership of issues they are not properly addressing.

Really, why don’t any of them tell anyone. They just keep it to themselves kinda like as if the PM, if he really cared, would understand everything already. So instead of putting the issues straight, as she might even have done in the article I am quoting from, she has decided to quit the party room. These are the final lines from the article:

“Guys, this is your problem to solve,” Ms Cusack said. She said the “toxic factions” were to blame for women being held back at the expense of men. “Bullying is something that men do well, but the bullying within the party does not only drive women away, but also very capable men,” Ms Cusack said.

I will only add that we do not elect Prime Ministers to deal with the after-hours relations between staff members in Parliament House. And if she means by “bullying” the hard edge infighting that always goes on in politics, she is just not suited for this line of work.

What’s Wrong with the World as seen in 1910

The woman beside the man, Frances Chesterton
GKC with his wife Frances

This is from What’s Wrong with the World by G.K. Chesterton in 1910. Not all that much seems to have changed. This is from Part III: “Feminism, or the Mistake about Women”, Chapter VII: “The Modern Surrender of Women”. And just what was it they surrendered. They capitulated in accepting that work outside the home was better than work inside, and the things boys did were better than the things girls did, which until then they had denied

But in this corner called England, at this end of the century, there has happened a strange and startling thing. Openly and to all appearance, this ancestral conflict has silently and abruptly ended; one of the two sexes has suddenly surrendered to the other. By the beginning of the twentieth century, within the last few years, the woman has in public surrendered to the man. She has seriously and officially owned that the man has been right all along; that the public house (or Parliament) is really more important than the private house; that politics are not (as woman had always maintained) an excuse for pots of beer, but are a sacred solemnity to which new female worshipers may kneel; that the talkative patriots in the tavern are not only admirable but enviable; that talk is not a waste of time, and therefore (as a consequence, surely) that taverns are not a waste of money. All we men had grown used to our wives and mothers, and grandmothers, and great aunts all pouring a chorus of contempt upon our hobbies of sport, drink and party politics. And now comes Miss Pankhurst with tears in her eyes, owning that all the women were wrong and all the men were right; humbly imploring to be admitted into so much as an outer court, from which she may catch a glimpse of those masculine merits which her erring sisters had so thoughtlessly scorned….

For the truth is that they go mainly by precedent; by the mere fact that men have votes already. So far from being a mutinous movement, it is really a very Conservative one; it is in the narrowest rut of the British Constitution. 

And that, let me remind you, was written in 1910. Women, he wrote, sought the vote because men had the vote. As for drink, we have seen how well they hold up on a night out with some chap but that is still the ambition. And we know how well they withstand the pressures of politics. As for sport, we now have this:

A girl can do anything, once a guy does it first and then shows her how after she has “glimpsed those masculine merits” as Chesterton has put it.

You can laugh at Biden (and Harris) but it’s not funny


Ha Ha. Senile old man is president with an incompetent public prosecutor in the wings to take over who knows absolutely nothing about any of issues that matter. Such as?

Headed For A Collapsing Debt Bubble.

Common sense suggests that it is much easier to repay debt with interest in a growing economy than in a shrinking economy. Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff unexpectedly ran across this phenomenon in their 2008 working paper, This Time Is Different: A Panoramic View of Eight Centuries of Financial Crises. They reported (p. 15), “It is notable that the non-defaulters, by and large, are all hugely successful growth stories.” In other words, their analysis of 800 years of governmental debt showed that default was almost inevitable if a country stopped growing or started shrinking.

You can spend and spend but if those who produce are not getting payments large enough to cover their production costs, something will have to give. As discussed here at Instapundit:

PLAUSIBLE, ALAS: Biden sleepwalks into a stagflation nightmare: US economy simply doesn’t have the productive capacity to meet the demand created by Biden’s stimulus package.

Or as explained in one of the comments: “When you print a couple of trillion dollars, and call it a ‘stimulus package’, it doesn’t actually change the ability of the real economy to produce things.” Nor does it end there. Such as this: Trump EVISCERATES Biden’s Border Policy: ‘Turned National Triumph Into National Disaster.

“We proudly handed the Biden Administration the most secure border in history. All they had to do was keep this smooth-running system on autopilot. Instead, in the span of a just few weeks, the Biden Administration has turned a national triumph into a national disaster. They are in way over their heads and taking on water fast,” the former president declared.

Not to mention China

Or the Chinese Flu. Four years is a long time in politics. There may be a lot of ruin in a state, but Biden-Harris may actually be up to it.

Men create civilisation specifically to have families

The video which is over the top is from a comments thread at Instapundit as is this comment.

I believe men create civilization specifically to have families. Inspired by women and the desire to protect and provide for her and their children, men create everything else.

Somewhere along the line, we lost the civilizational thread. It started out as a beneficial thing — liberation of women from certain constraints. These were real constraints, not made up stuff. LIke don’t go out to ice cream alone, lest you be perceived as an immoral woman.

But there was an unintended side effect, namely, men actually do not need women, but do need women to be inspired to be civilized. And women will not build civilization on their own … they will at best maintain it. But it will never grow and it will inevitably fall. When you have female chiefs of police, female governors … men check out.

Part of the problem is men cannot follow women; women are too emotional, make rationalizations that another men wouldn’t tolerate for a second, pull rank, become risk-averse, and engage in a double-standard where they are simultaneously reliant on actual male power while claiming to be a leader that they could never personally enforce.

There is also this which is directly related: Nicolle Flint’s career sacrifice for the greater good of others.

“The general reaction to my announcement I would not recontest the next federal election was one of shock,” Flint told The Weekend Australian on Friday.

“After all, I was only in my second term (having held my seat despite the best attempts of GetUp, Labor and the unions); I had a strong record of achieving policy change; and this week the Prime Minister has said I was ministerial material. But there are limits to human endurance and I had reached mine.”

The Weekend Australian spoke this week to one Boothby volunteer who said that “bovver boys” from the SA branch of the CFMEU arrived at his booth on polling day and ripped down all Flint’s posters, then stood there with their arms folded challenging anyone to dare put them up again. Picture: Getty

Utterly lame. She will only make it harder for other women to find seats in Parliament since she has wimped out in a way that others will now know the kinds of pressures that work. Weak and unforgivable.