Culture evolves genetically. Race and culture go together.
To which I had planned to reply, “your point, sir?” before moving on.
But then I was invaded by the Ranting Alien once again, and here we are.
Mr. Bullard, the fact that culture evolves genetically is self-evident. One has only to read about a few invasions in an old history book to see the genetics in action. Or you could examine the DNA of Iceland to discover the cultural history it demonstrates.
Culture, even when invaded by new DNA, evolves over the long term; it is not a revolution at all unless there is governmental interference (as in the growth of entitlements = the growth of illegitimacy in the population that entitlements are set up to serve). Left to their own devices, cultures change slowly.
Just as an example, let’s take the culture of “courting” or “dating” in the U.S. (to keep it simple, we’ll stick to heterosexual middle class people for this discussion) and how it evolved within the limits of a particular time frame.
1. The arrival of the car is my arbitrary starting point. I could have gone back earlier, but the invention of the automobile is easy to see as the cause of massive change in many aspects of our culture.
Courting was deeply affected by the advent of the car. Automobiles permitted a level of privacy to young people not available previously. This new venue for intimacy, fueled by alcohol and the lack of supervision by adults, really got going in the 1920s, but it was short-lived.
2. The severe economic constraints of the 1930s reined in much of that hedonism. Besides not being able to afford a car, not many families could afford more mouths to feed. Marriage began to be put off. For families who needed their youngsters to stay home and support their kin by going to work (when they could find it), it was a disadvantage to have them considering marriage.
In addition, going away to college became again an experience for the elites – at least those not ruined by the Depression. There were also a few determined souls who accepted their second class status as working students in order to gain an education.
3. Then came the universal draft which lasted from the 1940s till after Vietnam. Swarms of strange young men, now in the employ of Uncle Sam, descended on to towns located near military bases. Being of the age where reproductive hormones are at their highest, these military boys proceeded to impregnate as many of the local females as possible. Because of the mores of the time, they often “did the honorable thing” and married their prey, each carrying her off to the next duty station and then back to either his or her hometown.
By the way, many of these marriages proved enduring. The less fortunate girls, abandoned by their cruel soldier or sailor, often went off for a while to “visit Aunt Matilda” returning home sadder but wiser. These stories – both kinds – were a regular feature of the 1940s and ‘50s.
In addition, higher education became universal also as the government, in the form of the GI Bill, grew colleges at a fast pace. In the beginning, it was men who benefitted from this growth in higher education. Women had to wait until the government, pressured by Big Business disguised as Academe, started passing out grants and loans to both men and women before they could compete and then surpass, men.
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3. By then the birth control pill of the 1960s, in addition to the influx of women onto college campuses, really loosened things up. Sexually transmitted diseases increased a hundredfold. Pregnancies sometimes occurred anyway, but the bond between men and women began to slip as men felt less responsible for “accidents” and women felt abandoned to their own devices when things went wrong. The eternal war between the sexes became somewhat radioactive at that point.
[To make this easy, I’m omitting the hippies and flower children from this discussion, along with the concurrent Civil Rights events, though this is where they’d fit in. However, that population bulge always distorts any discussion]
4. Abortion on demand after Roe v. Wade ended in a lost generation of about 47,000,000 children who might have lived otherwise. However, a. on d. also increased promiscuity because it became an alternate form of birth control, so perhaps not that many conceptions would have occurred had it not been for a. on d. as a handy back-up for the month after the alcohol fueled Brief Encounter. Hard to say…
This legal development further loosened the bond between men and women. If the former were not permitted any say in the subsequent birth or elimination of conceptions, then they protected themselves by becoming even more distant in order to survive emotionally. The Geiger counter that sits between the sexes clicked ever louder and faster.
The above enumerations are the Cliff Notes version of the cultural changes and some of the genetic rearrangements in courtship patterns over several generations in the United States.
Other factors influenced courtship during that span, including (but not limited to) this list:
– after the 1960s, women were expected to work after marriage;
– the introduction of “no-fault” divorce laws in the 1970s impoverished the women who had left the work force to have children. The words in the marriage vows remained the same, but the expectations of each side in the gender wars became increasingly different. During this time divorce rose 250 per cent.
– Trophy wives became common in the 1980s and this behavior among alpha males was no longer viewed as dishonorable (except by the abandoned, graying first wife),
– “blended” families and single parents became more and more the norm,
– latch-key children gave way to kids raised in daycare,
– which in turn gave way to the ascendancy of increasingly aggressive children,
– leading to ever higher levels of pediatric mood-altering medication.
Bullying has become a commonplace amongst children now; “mean girls” are casually cruel since no one else is real for a narcissist. And no better way exists to create a narcissist than to stick a six-week old in day care and keep him there until he’s old enough for the schools to take over his social maintenance.
These young people are now reaching the age of courtship and mating. Their narcissistic use of one another is astonishing to behold. The rudiments of attachment are the best they can hope for. Anomie? It doesn’t begin to describe the mutual feelings of emptiness, betrayal, and hatred that have become the radioactive minefield in which young people “play” with their romance games.
Thus the rituals of courting shifted, evolved, and moved on to new terrain. In that time also, women topped men in higher education, they grew more disdainful of men in general, and they proceeded to have themselves impregnated sans an actual male presence.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions, but what road is paved with the unintended consequences of our current mating rituals and family patterns? Where does this path lead? Heaven only knows.
One thing is for sure: genetic changes have certainly affected the cultural ones, and vice versa. Rather than a confluent arrangement that meets mutual needs what we have now appears to be an interference pattern.
I feel sorry for both sides – life is hard enough without this twisted loneliness that modernity has wrought for the current generation of mating-age adults.
I have simplified this by leaving out race. Black families have risen into the middle class in such large numbers that their presence is no longer remarkable. As members of the middle class, their mating rituals are the same as those of the majority whites. In fact, this similarity is largely responsible for the increase in interracial marriages and mixed race children.