Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Polls in Canada – and usually elsewhere - show a significant gender gap when it comes to politics. The latest 338. poll sees the Conservatives getting only 24% of women's vote, but 33% of men's. The NDP gets 17% male support, 24% female. According to MacLeans June 2020, men supported the Greens at 6.2% and women at 7.9%. Thus, women are 37% less likely to vote right wing, 30 % more likely to vote NDP and 22% more likely to vote Green than their male counterparts. This indicates that women are considerably more intelligent than males, by an average of 30% according to the polls. This is a significant difference and if you don't think so consider your reaction to having your income cut by that amount. It would hurt, right?

Now it may seem brutally unjust to claim that men are less intelligent than women because they have a greater propensity to vote for the right than the centre or left. Let us first examine stupidity. Key elements of stupidity are an inability to consider the future, treating all phenomena as if they existed in isolation, a rejection of science, (evidence-based observations), and responding to difficulties with belligerence. Put simply, you cannot make a rational, evidence based case for most right-wing policies.

These aspects of stupidity are either rejected or are manifested in the different political parties. The Liberals, NDP and Greens all claim to be concerned with the climate crisis, i.e. concerned with the long term. (Whether they do anything about it is another issue.) Both the NDP and Greens tend toward an antiwar stance. Both the Greens and the NDP understand that social problems cannot be treated in isolation, nor can they be fixed with repression. Empirical evidence shows that neoliberal austerity does not work to make a better society, indeed makes matters worse. Greens, NDP and Liberals reject austerity. No matter their obvious failings, no matter their hypocrisy, no matter their betrayals, intellectually at least, these parties take a more rational stance on issues than the right wing. Women are more likely than men to support parties which are rational about key issues.

This is not to say that women cannot be attracted by right-wing forces if certain historically justified fears are manipulated. (The re-establishment of misogynist practices being the most important of these fears.) In France there is no gender gap in the support for the Front National. The leaders of this party have been able to whip up fears of Islamic extremism and the sharia law, which seems to have scared a significant number of women. No doubt some of Trump's massive white female support (now largely lost) came from his anti-Muslim fear-mongering in the 2016 campaign. Other than these examples, however, a political gender gap persists in most countries with women tending to prefer the progressive side over the reactionary.

What are the roots of this male stupidity that propels so many of them toward the self-defeating policies of right wing parties? One posibility lies in a false concept of masculinity that effects a large enough proportion of the male population to make a major political impact. For lack of a better term, I call this “Mannism”. For the Mannist anything classifiable somehow as “feminine” is second rate, weak, cowardly, irrational, and overly-emotional. Also classified as feminine are empathy, a consensual rather than a competitive attitude, a desire for peace and an abiding interest in “intellectual” and cultural pursuits.

Social and environmental activists are seen to embody these “feminine” traits and this explains the rage that many males feel toward such movements. Neoliberalism is seen as correct, not because of empirical evidence, but simply because it rejects empathy, and is not an ideology of goody-goody wimps pandering to societies inferior members. The Mannist also uses an irrational form of reason – one that looks at the world with intellectual abstractions and formulas and avoids or denies the empirical. Hence, the persistent belief, contrary to evidence, that “free trade” and privatization work, simply because they function well in theory. So too, climate crisis foot dragging policies, and the continued ignoring or repression of social problems, no matter what the scientific evidence to the contrary. Anything that gets in the way of “natural competition” is to be avoided and should be encouraged to enable “the best” to climb to the top. An authoritarian hierarchy is “natural” and therefore desirable. That science shows the limits of competition as a factor of social development and that authoritarian hierarchies are of comparatively recent origins among humans is ignored.

Mannism lies at the base of much of what is considered masculinity in much of Europe and North America. It is seen by many as “What it means to be a man” and thus puts the Mannist True Believer into conflict with any progressive movement. Women, on the other hand, while not innately so, are at least allowed by the social system to show empathy and to be cooperative and non-violent. Indeed, these traits are expected of them.

Part of the struggle to create a better world must be to encourage men to be intelligent. This means the need to redefine what masculinity means in the contemporary world, if not ultimately eliminate such restricting self-definitions.


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