Thursday, February 11, 2016

It's Not that Complicated: Chapter 3 - Part Two

When I was teaching, I'd often be busy enough that I would be half-listening to a student talking about an interest of theirs while I was doing something fairly mindless like entering grades or double-checking chemistry worksheets to be sure the problems were solvable.  The problem with this method is that I found it hard to control my facial expression when a student-lead conversation took a strange turn.  For example, imagine listening to a student complain about how hard it is to get an after school job while you have an entire conversation in your head at the same time (italics)
Getting a job is hard... (*did I enter that right? Oh. Yup* *Nods to student*) transportation ("Yeah, not having a car sucks!  Is there someplace closer to you? *wait, who's name is this?  Are they even in that class?*) nice to make money (*OMG, why the hell would a biology student complete a chemistry worksheet?  Dear God.* "Yeah, money is nice").....this is all due to the Illuminati. (*Did they say Illuminati?*).....New World Order....("Wait a second, kiddo.  Let's run this by me again")

This section of the chapter FEELS like one of those conversations.  The chapter is (allegedly) about boys being people too, but all of a sudden devolves into a Botkin-lead social science lesson.

Overarching themes:

  • Boys have been doing worse and worse on all sorts of outcomes since girls have been doing better on outcomes.  
  • The Botkins start off with two pages of mocking a Christian psychologist/ Freudian analyst (which are not the same thing) they "shared the podium"(pg. 41) at a talk on self-esteem for girls when the Botkins were 16 and 18 years old.  I'm not sharing the quotes because a) they give no details that would allow the existence of the talk to be verified and b) this is all from their memories at least 12 years later.  No transcripts.  No videos.  Nothing that can be used to verify their catty critique of their co-speaker.
  • They also manage to pad the chapter with tons of quotes from "The Myth About Boys" by David Von Drehle (Time, 2007) and Kay Hymowisz's Manning up: How the Rise of Women has Turned Men into Boys.  The use of "The Myth About Boys" is ironic since the article points out that middle and upper-class boys are doing fine while the growing inequality between men and women is most severe in lower-income classes where women have had increased economic mobility through service work while men's jobs in manufacturing have disappeared.  Manning up is a longer version of the same theme.
  • "We know that our lives are tied to theirs, and that's why it terrifies us when, for example, we see grown men who are more interested in playing than working.  Men who don't seem to take themselves - or even life - seriously.  Men who have no direction, and wait for someone else to tell them what to do. (...).  The ones who don't view women as objects are more likely to view us as the man in the relationship, waiting for us to talk, lead and take initiative. Others are mama's boys.  Still others are goofy and silly, grown-up children.  And most aren't  ready to move on to marriage as early as they used to be." (pg. 42-43)
    • See, a good woman sits around and waits for a man to tell her what to do.  When men do the same thing, the world crashes to a halt as everyone sits around staring at each other.  /sarcasm.
    • Of the other complaints, the only real annoyance is a "mama's boy".  The other guys will be attracted to assertive, funny women who are also ready for marriage later in life.
    • Since the average age at marriage has been rising in the USA, this should give CP home-schooling families pause if they have planned - consciously or otherwise - to marry their daughters off at the end of high school rather than deal with any advanced career training.

  • Clearly, the only way to fix this is to have girls stop competing with boys.
  • "Was it our winning that turned [boys] into losers? To answer the question, here are three things to consider: First, there is a free market principle that applies to gender politics as well as well as economics: Nobody has to lose when somebody else succeeds.  One person's strength, capability, and intelligence should benefit everyone.  If everyone was fighting for the same job and leaving some vital positions unfilled, it would weaken the economy.  But if men did their job and women did theirs, everyone would win, even when women did their own job exceptionally well. "(pg. 49)
    • *blinks*
    • First, that principle is not from free-market theory; it's non-zero game theory.  
    • How exactly do the Botkins think supply and demand work?  When the demand drops, the amount of supply drops in reply. Yes, supply can drop by all operating businesses reducing supply - but the real method involves driving weak businesses to failure when they cannot sell enough products to clear costs while more desired products from other businesses increases.  Because of that, SOMEONE often loses when someone else wins.  Admitting this truth doesn't make you a statist communist or socialist; it simply means you can apply logic to a system.
    • There is always mismatches between available labor and the positions that need filling.  Generally, jobs that need specific training often go through periods where laborers are missing.  From a worker's point of view with the skills, this is sweet.  The scarcity of labor often lifts wages.
    • I can't figure out how everyone would win if women left the workforce en masse.  Employers who had hired the best candidate who was female would need to fill that position with a less skilled man.  In fact, the replacement male employee would likely be much worse since the male candidates with the strongest skill sets would already be employed.  That's not beneficial for the company, strong male employees or women; it is, however, beneficial for weak-to-middling male employees.  Does this mean the Botkins Sisters realize on some level that their fellow Vision Forum cult members can't compete in the workforce?
  • "Second, when in comes to measuring our own astounding success, we must recognize that the grade curve has been set in our favor.  In the same period of time in which men's performance began to slide, the standard by which performance was measured was switched out on them.  Today's education system and workplace are better suited to people who are good at following rules, being quiet and submissive, and coloring in the lines (such as girls).  Remember, we are living in a society that makes no room for real men.  Women are better at doing statism; real men don't do well under statism at all.  Yes, men are failing in many of the tests of real manhood, too, but even in the fake tests, the deck is stacked against them." (pg. 49)
    • First, the educational system goes through periodic swings in popular teaching methods.  Prior to 2000, the cycle took about 20 years to go from project-based lessons with portfolio style output to lecture based lessons with tests as outputs.  After No Child Left Behind was implemented,  the pendulum got stuck over at lecture/tests for ~12 years.  Since the Botkins are arguing that the educational system has been failing since the 1930's, we should be able to track male achievement compared to educational method.  To no one's surprise, boys show a great deal of individual variation in response to educational method...just like girls do.  
    • The changes in the workplace were caused by free-market forces.   (The Botkins LOVE the free-market, but I'm not sure they get how it works.)
    • My husband is grateful that he's not a real man as described by the Botkins - and so am I.
  • "Third, women themselves aren't doing as well as the numbers make it look like.  Oh, we're doing better on the SAT test than we did before there were SAT tests - but our success rate as wives, mothers, and good helpers to mankind has gone nowhere but down." (pg. 49)
    • *Mel lost 15 minutes because she was laughing so hard she had an asthma attack."
    • If the Botkin Sisters, their parents and whoever else edited this book can't see the massive problem in the statement "We're doing better on the SAT than we did on the SAT BEFORE it was written", they need a rudimentary logic course.  
    • How do you calculate the success rate of wives, mothers and general helpers?  Is it a formula, survey or test?  How did you get the "before" sample?
Next Post: A Botkins History lesson and the definition of "statism" from So Much More....which I believe should be retitled So Much Worse: Marginal Homeschooling Essays.


  1. I ADORE "we're doing better on the SAT test than we did before there were SAT tests". That is hilarious!!!!!!
    (also, personal pet peeve when people say the word "test" after SAT).

    1. Oh, dang. I never realized that I say SAT test - and I know that SAT stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test. That's a hoot!