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It's Raining Men

I was reading an article over at Wretchard's Belmont Club when a comment leaped out at me, smacking me upside the cerebrum with its insight. Peter Boston, speaking about the Middle East, said the following:

The entire region is overflowing with young men who have no jobs and no prospects. Local economies are already worse than they were before the awakening. When does disappointment turn to rage?

What better way to direct the energy of those young men away from regime change than to put them in uniform and march them off to some mythical border drawn in London 80 years ago by some Englishman?

That got me thinking. The Muslim world is incredibly sexually segregated. In the most extreme cases, unrelated men and women are forbidden from any contact, often resulting in serious punishment for the woman. Women are second-class citizens at best, valuable property on average, and occasionally slaves. Courtship is largely forbidden and seriously punishable; marriages are most often arranged by families, usually without the consent of the folks getting married. Hell, in most cases "marriage" is less about a "blessed union" and more of a transfer of ownership. In some countries, women are the "responsibility" of their guardians -- husbands, fathers, or other male relatives -- for their entire lives. They never get to be independent, to be responsible for themselves. Should a married woman become single again (divorce or widowhood), she reverts to the property of her original family.

Toss in the acceptance of polygamy in many Muslim societies -- always a man with multiple wives, never a woman with multiple husbands (it would cause confusion about ownership, I guess) -- and you have large numbers of young Muslim men who have little or no hope of marrying -- let alone marrying someone of their own choice.

It's a stereotype, but that's because there's a lot of truth in it: marriage -- and being around women in general -- has a civilizing effect on men. It tends to make them less prone to violence, to engage in wanton destruction, to be so willing to kill and die for some abstract cause like... oh, I dunno, "the glory of Allah" or something.

Another data point is the current chaos in Egypt. Egyptians are tasting freedom for the first time in their lives, and they are going through fairly typical rough patches such events cause. They are expressing their freedom in the form of anarchy and license. Which is why the few times women have shown up to the protests, there have been mob sexual assaults on women. These are the actions of men who have never routinely interacted with women, who are for the first time utterly free of any kinds of restraints or controls, and giving free rein to their basest impulses.

And it ain't pretty.

A similar time bomb is ticking away in China. For decades, their "one child" policy has resulted in parents favoring a son -- culturally, a son will support the parents, while a daughter will grow up to marry and leave the family. Sex-selection abortion has seriously thrown the balance of the sexes out of kilter, and Chinese adoption trends -- the majority of Chinese infants put up for adoption abroad are girls -- has only aggravated the situation. The most recent numbers I've seen put the current birth ratio to be about 55% boys, 45% girls. (For the adoption angle, I'm going on purely subjective experience -- I've encountered quite a few Chinese children of decidedly non-Chinese parents, and I don't recall a single boy in that situation.) That's a very bad situation for China's future -- literally millions of young men will grow up with essentially no chance of ever marrying, or having children (well, a child -- we're talking China, after all) of their own.

In all of history, I've only heard of one example that would help resolve this sort of problem -- the removal of a very large number of its population in a very gender-unbalanced fashion. And there just might be some rather ruthless people who might look on what happened in Europe during World War I as a model.

The feminist movement, for all their wrong-headed ideas here in the US, have one point that they don't play up anywhere near as much as they should: the better the conditions are for women in a country or region or culture, the better it is generally for everyone. (This is similar to the "Jews as canaries" theory -- when things start getting bad for Jews in a country, it will soon get bad for a lot of other groups, and is usually a harbinger that the nation in question is heading for very bad times.) One of the best things we've done in Iraq and Afghanistan is in educating and protecting and advancing women, as that quite possibly could do more to improve the future of those nations.

I know whereof I speak. I'm a lifelong bachelor (and just about resigned to that fate), and I've caught myself on many occasions letting slip a lot of the general civility that I'd learned in my younger days. And the "freedom" I enjoy is best encapsulated in the words of the classic song: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

In that context, there are millions of "free" young men in the Muslim world and in China, among other places. And that's a kind of "freedom" that often ends in bloodbaths.


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Comments (19)

I believe that traditionall... (Below threshold)

I believe that traditionally with these kind of gender imbalances two things happened. First they go looking to their neighbors for female companionship for their excess male population. Russia, Korea, Japan, India might want to keep the porch light on at night. Being that the neighbors seldom willingly hand over their women, that leads to a significant reduction of the aforesaid excess male population. Two birds with one stone you could call it.

And the "freedom" I enjo... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

And the "freedom" I enjoy is best encapsulated in the words of the classic song: "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

I too enjoy that definition of freedom. I remember reading an interesting article about half a dozen years ago that talked about Iraqis not fully understanding the meaning of freedom. There were instances of people driving the wrong way on streets and ignoring traffic signs while under the impression that they were expressing their freedom. I really liked a definition of freedom that Obama stated to the to the Egyptian people. He said that in a democracy everyone has a voice. I thought that definition was the most crucial one I've heard for a country that is struggling to be a democracy.

Guess they never interacted... (Below threshold)

Guess they never interacted with Coptic Christians before, either.

Must suck to be them.... (Below threshold)

Must suck to be them.

I've pondered on the whole ... (Below threshold)
Captain Ned:

I've pondered on the whole Islam/women thing for some time and this is the best I can come up with.

Arab Islam is still a tribal/clan based society. Nationalism means nothing to those not in the elite; instead, all loyalty is to the clan/tribe and all actions must further the existence of the clan/tribe.

In such societies, accustomed to moving long distances over harsh terrain, the singular commandment over time has distilled to "protect the breeders". If a clan/tribe cannot replenish its own population through the women it owns, or cannot steal women from another clan/tribe, it is dead.

While the men carry mobile phones and post YouTube videos these days, that essential commandment of clan/tribe life has never left them. Secure the breeders.

It is this specific atavistic need for tribes to protect their breeding stock that explains all of the violence rained down on those women who seek partners outside the tribe.

The only way to break this mess is to somehow stop Arab tribalism. On that, I'll simply say: Good Luck.

One of the best things w... (Below threshold)
Tina S:

One of the best things we've done in Iraq and Afghanistan is in educating and protecting and advancing women, as that quite possibly could do more to improve the future of those nations.

I want to make clear I am not defending Saddam Hussein, especially his human rights record. But it should be pointed out that women in Iraq have always had more rights than most of it's neighbors.

So. What are the chances of... (Below threshold)
Mike Giles:

So. What are the chances of the Chinese and the Muslims meeting somewhere in Central Asia, and taking care of both their problems. If the casualty rate is high enough, it might mean peace on Earth for generations.

Great post, Jay Tea!<... (Below threshold)

Great post, Jay Tea!

"..the better the conditions are for women in a country or region or culture, the better it is generally for everyone."

Some feminists have been stressing this for many years. And non feminists and experts in foreign policy, too. Back when Clinton was President many of us tried to lead a movement to support the women Afghanistan who were being stuffed into burkas, because the oppression of women is the canary in the coal mine. Step one in creating a country that supports terrorism is to oppress the women. Our concerns fell on deaf ears. Laura bush, heck even George Bush understood this principle and focused on gender equality in our war on terrorism. Remember the "W is for Women" slogans and all of Laura's work for women's rights in the ME? I'm not even a fan of the Bush's but they got that right. I can't tell you how outraged I was to read this from a senior official in the current administration:

"Gender issues are going to have to take a back seat to other priorities," said the senior official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal policy deliberations. "There's no way we can be successful if we maintain every special interest and pet project. All those pet rocks in our rucksack were taking us down."

Women are half the human race. It's simple logic and common sense to realize that if somebody's ideology and agenda requires them to silence and oppress half the human race, what they're engaged in is not going to be healthy for anybody.

I've read that the younger ... (Below threshold)

I've read that the younger Chinese population has fifty million more men than women. Part of it is the One Child Policy where any extra children are murdered (in the rural part of the country, drowning the baby is common) and part of it is that male children take care of the parents in their old age and married children take care of their in-laws. I think that China is going to get old before they get rich but expect them to invade someone before that happens (my guess is Russia; Siberia has lots of resources China needs).

You leave out the option of... (Below threshold)

You leave out the option of them all having a gay all time. That's what tends to happen in nature.

Talking about Muslims, thre... (Below threshold)

Talking about Muslims, three cheers for James O'Keefe. And to think that some here dismissed him after his failed misfire last time. O'Keefe has done more for conservatives than the whole community of this blog combined, even if we had several lifetimes.

Jay, you might enjoy J. Nei... (Below threshold)

Jay, you might enjoy J. Neil Schulman's novel The Rainbow Cadenza. It's set in a world that has a large sexual imbalance due to fetal selection in favor of boys. On top of that, it's been "scientifically proven" that the underlying cause of wars is men not getting laid often enough. The logical result? Young women are drafted into three years of national service, for the Greater Good of Society. The draftees don't wear uniforms ...

Jay Tea,Great post... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

Great post; economically and socially, the vast majority of the Middle East (including Persia) hasn't evolved past the 7th Century. My take: look what happened when just one 26 year old man, a college graduate and bachelor in Algeria, who in utter despair and anguish about the actions of his government taking away his only livelihood (they confiscated his vegetable vending cart) - poured gasoline on himself in a local bazaar... and then struck a match.

Now the whole region is aflame.

Millions and millions of young men (and women) see that they have no jobs, opportunity, future, or even a chance at a better life. But they have access to the internet (or know someone who does), and see for themselves the picture, and hear the story of the individual who sacrificed himself in a market place in Algeria. How do you think they feel about that? Or the Google-Earth images being passed around Bahrain, which shows the ruling elite living behind their walled palatial estates in unimaginable opulence - compared to their squalor. How would you feel? Imagine what the images of President Hussein Barrack Obama (who he even has a name like them) represents, compared to their own ruling-for-life dictators. I'm not even sure outrage, indignation, and anger are adequate words to even begin to quantify it.

I believe a once-in-a-millennium change is sweeping the Middle East. The ensuing conflagration will consume the entire region... and the tinder all got started with just one young man's desperate spark.

Semper Fidelis-

Jay Tea,To correct... (Below threshold)

Jay Tea,

To correct my comments and provide further amplification. Of course our President's name is: Barrack Hussein Obama. The young man who immolated himself in protest at the local bazaar was a Tunisian, not an Algerian. He had a family, and his name was Mohamed Bouazizi.

Semper Fidelis-

A wise old friend saw this ... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

A wise old friend saw this problem coming years ago, but he expressed not as a surplus of men, but as a shortage of women.

That's always a problem. Not only do too many men have to go without mates, but how on earth will we actually FIND anything? It's the women who know where stuff is.

I read this about China and... (Below threshold)

I read this about China and India too about the coming shortage of women...and the threat of young men with nothing to civilize them...years ago. It speaks of big trouble. It is their culture that is doing this....but I thought all cultures were equal??? Guess Not!
I think cavemen had better behavior toward women than Muslim men.

Don't give up hope. Took me... (Below threshold)
Jeff H:

Don't give up hope. Took me until the age of 46 to meet the woman I married. It was totally a God-thing. Keep your eyes--but more importantly, your heart and Bible--open.

always a man with multip... (Below threshold)

always a man with multiple wives, never a woman with multiple husbands (it would cause confusion about ownership, I guess)

[sarcasm] Maybe we just need to teach them about timeshares. [/sarcasm]

This writer is just one mor... (Below threshold)

This writer is just one more man who has internalized several decades of feminist anti-male propaganda.

Self hate, anyone?

Try making some wildly negative generalizations about women for a change. At least it would be less predictable than this tired crap.

Most women are clearly out for themselves at this point so it's time we men did the same.






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