Feminism/ Male rights · Gender Relations · Liberalism

On work

Image by Alec Soth via Magnum

The latest from Joe Biden pandering to the left:

There are several points to be made about this tweet, which captures the contemporary left-wing attitude towards family and gender.

Firstly and in correction, work is fundamentally a means to an end. True, some jobs are better paying than others; some people are suited to particular occupations. But there nevertheless remains an unavoidable drudgery, boredom, and monotony associated with work.

This being so, to get people “back to work,” is not necessarily a good thing. Instead, work and its value is relative to the end towards which it is directed. For instance, to work and earn money in preparation for a future family or in support of one, is good. Conversely, to work and earn money to enable the pursuit of base pleasures, insatiable material longings, or to carve out an atomised, selfish existence–is neither fulfilling nor desirable.

Progressives, however, have the inverse understanding of work: They prioritise work and career over the fulfillment of maternal responsibilities, lest women be “locked out” from the former, as Joe Biden puts it. They see work, specifically working women, to be an end in and of itself. This is a desirable end, so the line of reasoning goes, because working women are more self-actualised, independent, and unfettered from external restraints. On the liberal theory of freedom; that is, freedom is the maximisation of individual autonomy, such consequences certainly make us more “free.”

Logical enough, but this understanding is wrong for many reasons. To mention just one, as pointed out by Mark Richardson, “we are not ‘omnibeings’–creatures without a distinctive nature who can instead be or become anything they wish.” We are not free, therefore, when we act on whatever intellectual, emotional, or sensual impulse that comes to mind; we are free when we act according to what is good for us. And if truth be told, women draw greater happiness from contributing to what is more personal and intimate to them–their own family–than depleting their finite vitality in the service of companies which regard them as interchangeable.

Apart from being mistaken, the progressive view of work furnishes perverse incentives in favour of divorce. Where this view is implemented, moreover, it deprives domestic life of a mother who can serve as heart of the home, making for a less loving, supportive, and nurturing home environment; resulting in less loved, supported, and nurtured members of society.

2 thoughts on “On work

  1. “Work is fundamentally a means to an end… there nevertheless remains an unavoidable drudgery, boredom, and monotony associated”. This may be true for the majority, but some of us are lucky enough to (at least some of the time) “work” at what we love to do. This “avocation” is something worth striving to find.
    “to work and earn money to enable the pursuit of base pleasures, insatiable material longings, or to carve out an atomised, selfish existence–is neither fulfilling nor desirable.” While I agree that hedonism, materialism, and selfishness are undesirable, these are not the only alternatives to preparing for or supporting a family.
    “the liberal theory of freedom … is, freedom is the maximisation of individual autonomy.” Independence is a necessary prerequisite to interdependence. Those who reach independence but never move on are stuck in perpetual adolescence.
    “women draw greater happiness from contributing to what is more personal and intimate to them–their own family–than depleting their finite vitality in the service of companies which regard them as interchangeable.” While this is a generalization, IMO it holds true for the majority of women and the vast majority of companies. The majority of women are lucky that they have an inbuilt avocation that they only need to realize and find a suitable partner to actuate.

  2. If I might pander for a moment, I have found that there are two types of people in our world, those who pander and those who know that pandering is all we can ever do. Most of the time I hope I fall into the second category, though I admit that is not for me to say.

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