*Since I wrote this post Heather Heying and Brett Weinstein have been promoting the use of ivermectin in Covid-19, both as a prophylaxis and an alternative to vaccination. I dissociate myself from this aspect of Heather Heying’s work. Ivermectin is an unfounded and possibly harmful treatment for Covid-19 and vaccination remains the best form of protection. See the links here and here.
When I was very young I used to have imaginary friends. I don’t want to go into their names or what they were. The point is that I grew out of them and left them behind by the time I was six. Feminists on the other hand get into an imaginary enemy- ‘the patriarchy’, that they never grow out of. That imaginary enemy can be very useful to them. Patriarchy can justify hatred, retribution and it can be used to amplify the accomplishments of women that were achieved in the face of an oppressive power structure. Even if you have been to an elite private school such as Charterhouse and studied at Oxford or Cambridge – the patriarchy card can be used neutralise every form of good fortune and privilege and it is a card that feminists defend vigorously. Just look what happens to those who challenge the notion of patriarchal power structures such as Will Knowland, James Damore, Alessandro Strumia and Larry Summers. They all faced public humiliation and loss of employment see blog post victims of feminist intolerance.
The video below on the YouTube channel Triggernometry recently caught my eye because it contains a nuanced discussion of the concept of patriarchy – not the sort of thing you are ever likely to find in the Guardian. Of the two guests of Triggernometry, Jordan Peterson requires no introduction and he has featured in earlier blog posts here, here and here.
The second guest, Heather Heying, is an evolutionary biologist and partner of Bret Weinstein. She was one of the figures at the centre of the storm at Evergreen College. If you want to understand the dangers of ‘Social Justice Culture’ -witness the visceral hatred displayed towards science in general and evolutionary biology in particular at that college.
At 10.03 Konstantin asks Heather Heying, “Is the family a patriarchal structure“? and a fascinating dialogue ensues.
Heather “ I don’t see it that way and there are compelling arguments in evolutionary biology space as to how it is that males wield power in the outside world more often in a nuclear family situation than females do. This is a question then, what you definition of power is? This will quickly seem like we are going to fall into a semantic trap. If you are going to argue … patriarchy … archy is about power – so you have to define power and women tend to have power within the family, within social systems women tend to engage in hierarchies in which the competition is more covert, men tend to engage in competition and hierarchies that are more overt.… of course you can point to it and say that is where the power is but the power women tend to yield being more cryptic being more covert is partially because we are sexually dimorphic. We do have at least some history of polygamy in our past such that men are bigger and stronger ….. and so in engagement between the sexes women aren’t going to use physical power that wouldn’t make any sense so once you start down that road where, women are going to compete on something like and even playing field if they use psychological and social tools rather than physical tools when engaging with men also you expect and we see, there is plenty of evidence in the psychological literature as to, you know, the kinds of competition that women engage in being more covert so all of that is a background answer to the question- is the system we live in patriarchal? – only if the power you are interested in is the overt expression of raw physical power.“
Jordan Peterson “the alpha male, so to speak, the top chimp is constantly engaged in grooming and reconciliation and in stable chimp societies attends to the needs of females and infants to large degree and so what Dewalt has demonstrated, quite nicely, is that even among chimpanzees social structure predicated on the arbitrary expression of power which we could define as the use of force to compel others to act against their wishes lets say against their intrinsic desires produces very unstable hierarchies that are ripe for revolution and the chimps that rule for a long time are markedly cooperative now they are still capable of exerting force but force isn’t the animating principle of the society. The claim that social relations among humans are predicated on power, unless you weasel out of the definition of power …….. is not the basis for human social institutionsits an aberration and people whose power to obtain and maintain their positions are by and large incompetent“
I will not print out the entire dialogue but I urge you to listen to it. The summary is that humans are a dimorphic species and the expressions of power in men and women differ, but whether one gender has systematically more power is open to debate. What is clear, is that the black-box concept of ‘the patriarchy’ beloved of feminists is hopelessly simplistic and little more than a tool to justify hatred and retribution.