The Malta Independent 4 August 2020, Tuesday

Resignation and ideology

Mark A. Sammut Sunday, 9 February 2020, 11:12 Last update: about 7 months ago

Do I mean that we should resign ourselves to the ideologies of impunity and whitewashing?

Not at all!

Joseph Muscat was an expert at whitewashing, at attempting to stop people finding out the true facts about a situation.

Now that events have proved to be bigger than any one individual’s will, we are beginning to look into the abyss that was Muscat’s evil premiership.


The whitewashing ideology has to stop. Likewise, the impunity ideology.

This can only be feasibly achieved if politicians decide to police themselves. After all, the unwritten constitution inspiring Westminster-model constitutions was based on this principle: politicians should honourably apply checks and balances on each other, as members of clubs would. This might have been the case in the 19th century; it is now clear that this tradition has withered away.

Civil society has to keep piling on the pressure, even upping the ante.

What do we stand to gain, at least as individuals? Little. We won’t be taking home any bigger paycheque.

What do we lose if we’re passive?

A lot.

Once politicians think they can get away with murder, democracy fades away like an old photograph, to be replaced by the portrait of the Leader who dictates what’s to be done. We all stand to lose –tangibly and intangibly – if democracy’s gone.

It is indeed worrying that the Prime Minister should brag that his ability to foresee the outcome of the constitutional case concerning the people’s Caruana Galizia memorial induced him to dictate that government employees shouldn’t touch the memorial. If the PM’s respect for human rights stems from his being so clever as to pre-empt a court decision, then we’re really in a sorry state.

If the PM had democracy at heart, he’d educate his followers as to the meaning of allowing even those you disagree with to relay a public message at the institutions. At the same time, he would fire his Education Minister. By extending a warm welcome to Owen Bonnici, the PM’s sending the wrong message: you can flout the constitution with impunity.

The ideology of impunity has to be eradicated – only the PM can do this. He has to make it categorically clear that Justyne Caruana’s political hara-kiri won’t absolve her husband of any wrongdoing if he really passed on sensitive information to Yorgen Fenech. To establish the facts, serious investigations must be launched.

Similarly, if Joseph Muscat was in any way an accessory, investigations must be carried out and, if need be, Muscat should be prosecuted, just like Nicolas Sarkozy in France.

Only these “drastic” actions will save democracy in Malta... drastic for the Maltese but run-of-the-mill for the (other) Europeans.


Distorted narrative

This week’s extraordinarily sad murder has given rise to a narrative which, to my mind, is best described as distorted.

My intention is not to discuss the murder. Instead I want to focus on the pro-abortion women organisation the name of which escapes me, that quickly organised a demonstration in Valletta to protest against “patriarchy”.

“Patriarchy” means a society controlled by men in which men use their power to their own advantage.

Let’s zero in on two points. One, “patriarchy” is a figment of certain radical feminists’ imagination; two, we shouldn’t allow the thorny issue of domestic violence to be manipulated into a feminist issue because it’s two-way traffic, as scientific research demonstrates.

So, point one. It’s absolutely not true that we live in a society controlled by men in which men use their supposed power to their own advantage. In reality, we live in a society in which there are equal opportunities, and women can choose to have a career as much as men do.

That women don’t in actual fact make such a choice is a conscious decision made by individual women, who, upon weighing the pros and cons, find that it is more psychologically and emotionally rewarding to have a family and children than to be married to a career. It’s all nice and exciting when you’re in your 20s; but as they approach 35, many intelligent women realise that at age 50 they won’t be wishing to spend their evenings with their feline friend. So it’s not a question of “patriarchy” – it’s a question of rational choices made by rational women.

Science demonstrates that women tend to mate with equal or better men. Intelligent and successful women tend to find equally or more intelligent and successful men who can therefore assume the role of making enough money for the women to pursue their more important goal – having their own children. That’s how women’s brains are hardwired; no amount of ideology can wipe out psychological traits evolved over some 350 million years.

This ideology is actually recent. While reading Engels’ 1845 Condition of the Working Class in England, I found this little gem: “the reign of the wife over the husband, as inevitably brought about by the factory system, is inhuman...”. If Engels is correct, then not only do we not have patriarchy, but we have matriarchy and its origins lie in the Industrial Revolution!

Be that as it may. It’s clear that the patriarchy narrative is only an excuse to ride the abortion hobby-horse. It’s almost an obsession: this radical feminist ideology has psychological not philosophical roots.

My second point is that psychological studies paint a picture that could shock politically-correct sensibilities. A 2000 study (by J. Archer) suggests that “women engage in slightly more physical aggression than men in intimate relationships but sustain more injuries”.

During the British Psychological Society’s 2014 symposium “Developments in Intimate Partner Violence Research and Practice”, Dr Elizabeth Bates from the University of Cumbria presented a study suggesting that “[w]omen are more likely to be verbally and physically aggressive towards their partners”. “Analysis showed that women were more likely to be physically aggressive to their partners than men and that men were more likely to be physically aggressive to their same-sex others. Furthermore, women engaged in significantly higher levels of controlling behaviour than men, which significantly predicted physical aggression in both sexes.”

Dr Bates expounded: “Previous studies have sought to explain male violence towards women as rising from patriarchal values, which motivate men to seek to control women’s behaviour, using violence if necessary. This study found that women demonstrated a desire to control their partners and were more likely to use physical aggression than men. This suggests that IPV may not be motivated by patriarchal values and needs to be studied within the context of other forms of aggression, which has potential implications for interventions.”

A 2018 study called “Aggression in Women: Behaviour, Brain and Hormones” argues that “[r]esearch consistently reports that women use indirect aggression to an equivalent or greater extent than men. Indirect aggression occurs when someone harms another while masking the aggressive intent[:] spreading false rumors, gossiping, excluding others from a social group, making insinuations without direct accusation, and criticizing others’ appearance or personality.”

“Some studies using data from the criminal justice system (e.g., police reports, pretrial information and victim statements) of IPV offenders highlight commonalities regarding the use of IPV in women and men. These studies reported that defendants of both genders are equally likely to engage in harassing behavior (e.g., trespassing and stalking), and to have been physically abusive by punching, hitting, slapping, or stabbing. Findings from these forensic studies suggest women are equally likely to use severe forms of violence as men and to severely injure their partners.”

Bottom line: less ideology and more science.

The response to this horrific murder should be neither an increase in incarceration periods nor indoctrination at schools. Instead, we need a campaign to favour a shift in attitudes: from rights-based to duties-based. No longer “He’s my man/She’s my woman”, but “I’m her man/I’m his woman”. But this runs counter to neoliberal thought, the dominant ideology of late capitalism, that is highly individualistic but for the benefit of Big Capital.


Brave new world

What the heck? There are five doctors who are probably out to make money by opening an abortion clinic in Malta. Why not? It’s the free market! Let’s allow (and therefore encourage) women to terminate their own unborn children. What’s wrong with that? Then, let’s allow them to terminate their born children. A foetus, an infant... what’s the difference? Aren’t they both hindrances to achieving one’s goals in life?

Let’s assist people who want to terminate their own lives. It’s dignity!

Let’s allow people to marry more than one person at a time, of different sexes or of the same sex, or both. It’s love!

Let’s sterilise the defective, the criminal, the insane, the bigots, the Jews (why not?), the Catholics, and all non-conformists. It’s long-term planning!

Let’s allow complete strangers to co-habit in big dormitories as if they were family. Let’s tolerate siblings to copulate, even reproduce (there’s always abortion). It’s freedom!

Let’s stop giving names to people. Let’s use barcodes instead. It’s liberation!

Let’s stop dating and mating. Let’s engineer new humans in the laboratory by matching and manipulating their DNA. Let’s rid ourselves of the rejects, using their aborted body parts for industrial research. It’s efficiency!

Let’s introduce DNA material from other species to create mutant humans able to do things that today’s humans can’t. It’s evolution!

Let’s place integrated circuits in babies, and bionic parts too, to enhance their abilities – cognitive intellectual physical – for the armed forces to deploy them in combat and aeronautics to colonise Mars, and for industry to employ them on toxic production lines. It’s progress!

And let’s call it Neoliberalia! Let’s celebrate the complete equality of everybody and their free will! Every individual’s wish to be elevated to command and religiously executed! It will be Paradise!

And lastly, let’s burn subversive literature, especially Dostoyevsky and Chesterton.


My Personal Library (86)

In The Explanation of Ideology: Family Structures and Social Systems (1985), Emmanuel Todd proposes the idea that the success of 20th-century ideologies (communism, liberalism, Catholicism, etc) depended more on family structures than anything else. For instance, in France, “[p]rovinces where the family structure is authoritarian and the marriage age high [...] send conservative, Catholic deputies to the National Assembly. Authoritarian family regions where the marriage age is low [...] form socialist bastions. Exogamous community family zones develop a special affection for the Communist Party. The centre-west, an absolute nuclear family region [...] was driven by the republican and predominantly egalitarian dynamic of the overall system towards the Catholic Right”... and so on.

If Todd’s analysis is correct, then we Maltese should be careful in our pointlessly exaggerated Anglo-mania. England and Malta probably have different family structures; Anglo-Saxon ideologies therefore cannot be transplanted to the soil of Maltese society with ease. In our fanatical urge to copy all things English, we might find that we caused our society to collapse.

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