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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

A Day Without Me

If you missed “A Day Without a Woman” last week, don’t feel bad: I didn’t notice it either until I read about it online. Women were encouraged to take the day off and not to spend money to show their economic strength and impact on American society. Most did not.

Perhaps our U.S. readers will tell us if they felt the impact of some sort of message being sent.

Cassady Findlay, spokeswoman for the protest, says, “We provide all this value and keep the system going, and receive unequal benefits from it.”

Er ... About Those “Unequal Benefits” …

On the latter point Findlay is correct: in typical Western economies, the relative benefits provided by “the system” to men and women are anything but equal. The writers of this New Zealand-based fiscal research report for 2013 note that as a group women receive far more from “the system” over the course of their lives than they put into it.

Nicolas Kilsdonk-Gervais summarizes the findings rather bluntly:
“Economically, women cost more to the state than they benefit. Put another way, the government (or men) is literally paying women to be alive. Strong independent women are only that way because the state is transferring money from men to them.”
Sorry. May have let Nick’s opinion slip in there at the end.

The relevant numbers are from 2010, so this is being observed in a social climate in which fewer women are married and more women are working than at any time in history, in which their workforce participation currently exceeds that of men, and in which the oft-ballyhooed $0.77-on-the-dollar wage differential between the sexes is mythical, as documented here.

So, as throughout history, men find themselves paying the bills, except now they’re paying the bills of women they don’t know through government middlemen rather than enjoying any personal reward for their efforts. Meanwhile, their beneficiaries are protesting, presumably hoping for an even larger unearned share of society’s pie.

Unequal benefits indeed.

Solipsism Warning

So how much in the way of unequal benefits are we talking about anyway?

Disclaimer time: First, we are talking here only about economic benefits; women obviously bring things other than money to the table for which men are profoundly grateful.

Second, bear in mind that the following number is an average. We all know women who make huge net economic contributions over the course of their lives, and we can also easily point to any number of men who are slouches adorning couches, can’t keep a job or cover their own expenses, let alone assume responsibility for anyone else’s. So please don’t start mentioning the exceptions that prove the rule. The sort of person who ties themselves in knots over statistics crying out, “But I’M not like that!” for the benefit of anyone who will pay attention is engaging in solipsism rather than intelligent analysis and cannot see the forest for the trees. Such an individual needs a valium, a pat on the head or at least a kind and appreciative word.

Our readers are, of course, not like that: we want hard numbers to chew on.

So how bad is it? Kilsdonk-Gervais continues:
“By the end of her life, the average woman will have a negative fiscal impact of $150,000.”
Hmm. This might go a long way toward explaining the appeal of big government to more than half the electorate.

Assessing the Damage

Just one more Kilsdonk-Gervais quote for the road:
“The fact that feminists want a stronger government is not a coincidence. While historically, women had to choose a wealthy husband for resources, they can now stay single, be lesbians, marry a poor man, or use the sperm bank, and the state will still transfer male taxes to them.”
Quite the state of affairs, isn’t it? It’s always interesting to see the unintended long-term consequences of meddling with things that have worked for generations. Or perhaps the consequences were fully intended by at least a few of the social engineers that had a hand in bringing them about.

I wonder if anyone has bothered to ask Cassady Findlay’s protesters whose money it was they were NOT spending to demonstrate their economic strength?

A Deeply Misogynistic, Patriarchal Comment

Now, really, I’m not here to knock the fairer sex. Not at all. But if the Victoria University report is correct, a workforce composed of 57% women actually provides no real net benefit to Western economies. Quite the opposite, in fact.

Of course it’s not proof the world would be a better place in every way if women were barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen. But from a purely economic perspective, such an arrangement would be no more unbalanced and no more unequal than the present one.

It almost reminds one of this deeply misogynistic, patriarchal comment by the apostle Paul to Timothy:
“Yet [the woman] will be saved through childbearing — if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”
The word “saved” here is sōzō, meaning “rescued from danger”, “preserved”, “healthy”, “healed” or “whole”. Paul is not talking about spiritual rebirth or eternal life but a normal, healthy, earthly family life.

Now, Paul is also NOT talking about the many single women who contribute to the world in ways other than producing the next generation. Not every woman can, should or even wants to marry. I haven’t picked apart every aspect of the Victoria paper, but except for the fact that they generally live longer than men (thus requiring more government benefits in old age), working single women without children provide the same sort of positive financial contribution to the tax base as single men.

But speaking generally, the Christian position is that for a married woman, living the healthiest, most productive lifestyle involves an intelligent, determined personal commitment to husband, children and home, one characterized by faith, love, holiness and self-control.

A Personal Commitment

I say “personal commitment” because unfortunately nothing else has the same salvatory effect. Women who stay home to have kids out of guilt, duty or fear of what other Christians might think do not generally make happy wives or consistent testimonies to the world. Staying home to self-actualize is an equally empty exercise.

A young woman contemplating marriage who believes she may lose something important by staying home — autonomy, opportunity, excitement, financial independence, income, nice clothes, socialization, intellectual stimulation, the chance to Make A Difference™, witnessing opportunities … whatever — might be best served by working for a couple of years before marriage just to find out how mind-numbingly pointless and unfulfilling employment in the real world can be while she is at a point in her life where she can view the actual job conditions and prospects objectively and has no compulsion to rationalize her choices ex post facto.

No, the sort of Christian women who profit from the lifestyle Paul recommends to Timothy are those who fully buy in, not those who merely dip their toe in the water with the thought that they can always take a job next year if they don’t find homemaking to their taste.

Keeping the System Going

Cassady Findlay says about women that “We provide all this value and keep the system going.” She’s not wrong about either point. But the real value women provide is not through paying taxes or breaking through glass ceilings. It’s not through stimulating the economy by taking out an extra car loan, maintaining a work wardrobe and picking up their daily latte and muffin at the local Starbucks.

It’s through raising the next generation of godly children, encouraging others, helping needy relatives, setting the example of a happy and orderly home, and supporting their husbands in getting out there and doing their jobs in their churches and communities.

THAT’s how an already-overloaded system keeps going. When women finally stop doing THAT, you can bet the system will kick the bucket shortly thereafter.

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