This past week was spent in sunny Central Florida for the annual Cerner Health Conference. Overall, things went quite well, from my perspective — I traveled with a great group of co-workers, the sessions were mostly informative, and the hotel (Gaylord Palms) spectacular.
While in Florida, I read Mark Steyn’s new book, America Alone. His thesis is that militant Islamism presents a serious civilizational threat because the political systems of the West have denuded Western Man of a certain vitality — and that this tendency gives Islamists the upper hand because (a) the West’s preoccupation with “diversity” means we downplay the threat, and (b) the nihilistic vacuousness of Western ideology is being rationally displayed through dangerously low birthrates. In short: Radical Islam might win because radical Muslims might outbreed us.
Speaking of breeding … the dehumanization of women as sexual beings may be more advanced than I thought. Many are familiar with the colorful terms used in, say, gangsta rap — but what is more chilling is the reaction in a closed and relatively informed discussion group to one person’s comments about casual sex. The short version is that he has male friends who like to sleep with different women, without using contraception — even pressuring the women into not using contraception — so that these virile studs might “breed” them (his terms, which went largely unchallenged and unanalyzed by the group). For these men, the thought of having dozens of unknown children by buxom, servile women is a psychological turn-on of the first rank, and the titilation factor is only enhanced by explicitly referring to women in terms usually reserved for livestock. That this has always been true, in a latent sense, is probably trite; that social conventions are loosening to the point that sexually predatory male behavior is essentially uncontrolled, is a development with complex outcomes whose advent has not received the attention it deserves. Not the least of which is an acceleration of the sexual objectification of women.
On a not-very-related note, I’ve had several people mention dating problems to me. Which is sorta funny, in a way. But the theme is similar: No one is out there, I’m all alone, men/women only want one thing (that “I” don’t have). OK; fair enough. But everyone presents a package of strengths and weaknesses to potential partners. I firmly believe that anyone who tries really hard can find a mate. The challenge, though, is that desperation tends to work in contradictory ways. For some, it relaxes their standards; for others, it tightens them. As it happens, for some of my friends, the latter is happening, and so they’ve narrowed their “minimum acceptable criteria” in such a way that anyone would have trouble finding the ideal him or her — and moreso given the limitations of each person’s own ante-up into the dating game. Until they realize the improbability of a Royal Flush, their luck at the table will probably be disappointing.