Tag Archives: Fertility

Sex – A Response to Scott Alexander

Scott over at Slate Star Codex has created the Anti-Reactionary FAQ, probably the first rational, comprehensive critique of neoreaction. (It also turns out he like Turisas. Huzzah!) Much respect goes to Scott for this; it was a comprehensive and fair work (unlike some pieces of drek), which, over time, (neo)reactionaries will have to respond to. Michael has already done a short, preliminary response, while Jim has critiqued one particular aspect of the FAQ.

My humble blog was mentioned a couple of times. He mentioned my analysis of how the communists won, and quickly analyzes a Republican platform in response. I’ll provide a greater response to this in the future, when I have the time for a decent one.

For this post, I’ll concentrate on his section “5: Are modern ideas about race and gender wrongheaded and dangerous?” where my post, One More Condom in the Landfill, was referenced. I will be working on the gender aspect for this post and will respond by section number. So, my focus will be on 5.1-5.3, as 5.4 gets into stuff on social justice rather than sex itself. I should note Bryce has already made a post concerning this, but his is more theoretical in nature, so I will make my own.

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5.1

Sexual surveys on lifetime partners are usually not fully reliable, as the number can vary significantly depending on estimation strategies. Women underestimate, men overestimate.

The data on lifetime partners is, as he points out, minimal. 6 for men in 1970 and 2006, 2 for women in 1970 and 4 in 2006. He ends up using French data instead, but the French are not English and have a different culture, so I’m not sure if this would hold.

Instead, let’s look at bastardy rates, a more easily measured proxy for promiscuity. As we can see on this graph of CDC data from the Heritage Foundation, bastardy has been on a steady increase since some time around 1960.

This steady increase has occurred despite the increasing availability of both the pill and abortion. It is obvious that sluttiness and promiscuity has increased.

If we look back to one of Scott’s sources we find this gem:

American illegitimacy ratios in the eighteenth century and after the Civil War seem to have been about one or two percent, well below the five or six percent found in England and Wales at the time(s) (Smith, 1980, p. 372; Wells, 1980, pp. 354-55; Laslett et al., 1980, p. 18) and very far below the 30-plus-percent ratios found in the U.S. in the 1990’s.

Imagine a bastardry rate of only 2%.

It is obvious sluttiness has increased drastically.

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5.1.1

In this section, Scott ignores the religious argument, and I will too, for one argues with one’s (reasonable) opponents on grounds both can accept.

The decline of marriage would be the major argument, as he acknowledges. He posts this graph but misses the commentary on the graph.

The commentary states:

My own hypothesis is that a higher partner count (up to 5-9 or so partners) is correlated with age and maturity in dating experience. Older women, and women with more dating experience, are more likely to have learned which personal qualities will work best for them in a marriage partner. As a result, such women choose more wisely and tend to experience lower divorce rates. Now, it also happens to be the case that older women have had more time and occasion for pre-marital sex! Specifically, I suspect it’s not the 5-9 pre-marital sex partner count per se that drives the relative drop in the divorce rates, but rather it’s the maturity and experience that women have acquired while they’ve dated more men.

Scott does not take this confounding variable into effect in this piece.

This one chart comes from unpublished data from anonymous source. Sadly, it is the only source I know of where divorce risk is measured by number of premarital partners.

Most data either looks at either whether a person had premarital sex or not, or lifetime partners, which can be confounded by additional sex partners post-divorce.

If we look at data posted by the Social Pathologist elsewhere:

Only four nationally representative studies have examined whether premarital sexual experiences are linked to divorce (Heaton, 2002; Kahn & London, 1991; Laumann et al., 1994; Teachman, 2003). Nevertheless, the core finding—the association between premarital sex and increased risks of divorce—is robust[Ed]. Teachman (2003) found that women who had sex only with their future husbands did not have higher risks of marital dissolution, which suggests that the premarital-sex effect on divorce is related primarily to having sex with multiple partners

Each additional sexual partner increased the odds of infidelity by 7% while increasing years of education seem to decrease the risk by 10%.

The most salient finding from this analysis is that women whose intimate premarital relationships are limited to their husbands—either premarital sex alone or premarital cohabitation—do not experience an increased risk of divorce. It is only women who have more than one intimate premarital relationship who have an elevated risk of marital disruption. This effect is strongest for women who have multiple premarital coresidental unions.

Here’s some data showing adultery risk is higher for promiscuous women.

Here’s another chart showing that delaying sexual activity reduces divorce risk:

Here’s a chart, it counts all partners not just premarital ones:


Even beside divorce, there’s a large array of social and personal ills that come from promiscuity and higher numbers of sexual partners.

There is other information, but it all points to the same conclusion; the more sexual partners and the younger the woman is when first having sex, the more likely the risk of divorce.

By focusing only on that single chart, Scott misses a wide array of data which all tell the same story: a slutty women is a divorce risk and an adultery risk.

Even if we accept that one chart alone, Scott’s argument falls apart.

Being a virgin leads to a greatly lowered chance of divorce, a fact Scott just shrugs and dismisses it, accepting that premarital sex is an inescapable norm among the non-religious .

The whole point is that premarital sex should not be the norm. People (at least those intending to marry) should not be having premarital sex.

A doubling  (or tripling) of the divorce rate is not something we should just accept. It is damaging to the very fabric of society as parents’ divorce is associated with an increase in almost every socially non-desirable trait we measure (from poverty to crime to poor educational achievement).

[Edit: Removed two charts that did not fit with the main point and simply confused things. Moved a few things around, added a bit, and generally improved section 5.1.1. Thanks Ozymandias. 25/10/2013]

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5.1.2

In a broad perspective the point is correct – empirically, men with more psychopathic traits, less agreeableness, and greater narcissism have more sexual partners.

He agrees on this point, but goes on to equivocate between men and women, then essentially shrug his shoulders (“I have no idea how to solve the object-level problems”).

The reactionary project (at least those that aren’t PUAs) is attempting to do more; we have a model we know works from history and we are trying to reimplement it.

Simply allowing the cads to run amuk and having the good men go without is a recipe for social disaster, I’ve outlined here, here, and here.

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5.2

He accepts that divorces have elevated, but doesn’t acknowledge there is a steady, long-term trend of increase since 1860 and divorce rates per married couple still remain almost double what they were at 1960.

Also, he says that progressivism has created a natural memetic “immunity” meme to divorce.

I would suggest instead the decline of divorce is instead linked to the decline in marriage rates; ie. those who are less committed to marriage and more likely to divorce are moving in together rather than marrying then divorcing, driving the divorce rate down.

You can see this easily in the chart Scott provided:

Divorces spike, then as marriage rates decline so to do divorce rates per married couple, but this rate remains almost double what it was in 1960. The decline in divorce rates per population is decreasing, simply because the family is disintegrating by not getting married.

He asks why progressives are less likely to divorce:

College-educated women have about half the divorce rate of the non-college-educated (source). More conservative states have higher divorce rates than more liberal states (source). Atheists have divorce rates below the national average (source). Some of these factors seem to remain even when controlling for wealth and the other usual confounders (source, source).

The education and atheist arguments are mistaking IQ and/or a low time preference for progressivism (atheists tend to be smarter on average than religious folks because most unintelligent people stick with their default philosophy, which, in the US, is religious). Conservative (ie. Southern) states would likely have high divorce rates due to high levels of blacks which have a much higher levels of divorce. (Nevada, likely has the highest divorce rate for what seems like a self-evident reason; Vegas).

Essentially what Scott has shown here but not noticed is a long-argued contention of reactionaries: smart upper-class folks can have progressive values and still function because they are smart upper-class folks, but when applied to the less intelligent lower classes these values are socially destructive, because poor, stupid people do not have the time-preferences to function despite the harm from these values.

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5.3/5.3.1

Here he essentially argues that the depopulation of the US doesn’t matter because foreigners with foreign values are immigrating here and replacing native Americans. Also, you’re a racist if you think this is a problem.

I will just say that this is exactly the problem that reactionaries have with depopulation; he’s not actually refuting anything, he’s simply confirming our arguments. (Also, every reactionary is used to being called racist, so, that won’t really work).

If Scott can’t see the problem with foreign populations with different cultures and values replacing the current population, I don’t think I’m going to be able to convince him here.

I just hope he doesn’t mind losing his progressive values when non-progressive minorities start voting against progressive laws.

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5.3.2

He’s probably right here on the effects of low-IQ fertility on intelligence, which is why I don’t (or at least try not to) espouse the idiocracy line. The effects of dysgenics through fertility are something that will not substantially effect us, in and of themselves, for a very long time, too long a timeline to worry about overmuch now.

Instead our focus would be on the mass importation of low-IQ immigrants, which will have a more immediate effect on society.

I would also focus on the effects of single-parent, low-IQ homes with many children on the national treasury through government welfare, education, and health programs. This problem will rear its ugly head far sooner than dysgenics due to fertility rates will.

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So, there we have my first kick at the FAQ. I’m sure there will be others down the road.

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