Wednesday, March 16, 2011


We continue reviewing the 1986 book entitled “The Politics of Victimization” by Robert Elias, then of Tufts University.*

Elias now turns to the analysis of Victimizing in terms of Gender and Age. (p.57)

“Sexually and chronologically” he says, young men “break the law much more” than older men, and more than all women, “in virtually every setting, including both violent and property crimes”. (p.57) (He supports this with many footnotes, although all of them are from publications and papers generated by a few specific writers within the international Victimology group itself, a dynamic – and I would say a gambit – that I have noted in previous Posts in this mini-series.)

Ominously reflecting a trend that was probably inevitable (given the simultaneous cultural changes of increasing female ‘empowerment’ and decreasing reliance on general codes of conduct and even of philosophical or religious belief that any such codes can be imposed on anybody else, or even oneself) he observes without lingering that “women have shown increasing criminal patterns”.

Yet, he quickly continues, “men, including many juveniles, commit the most serious crimes”. (p.57) This statement reflects a bit of conceptual confusion, given the thrust of his immediately previous section (see my immediately previous Post) where he asserted that broader patterns of corporate and economic and “white-collar” crimes actually create more harm, and socially un-noticed crime (the Wall Street wreck of 2008 was two decades in the future when he wrote this book) causes more long-term damage. But he is trying, in this book, to balance the insights of international Victimology – which retains much of the long-established Western concern with social and economic consequences of large economic systems – with the agenda of the burgeoning (and politically enabled) American and feminist preoccupation with vivid violent, and increasingly sexual, crime and its victims.

And he presses on, refining his targets of concern: “While nonwhite men seem more inclined toward street violence, white men, from all classes, seem equally inclined toward violence toward women, especially in the home”. (p.57) You can start to see here the refining of targeting-focus on white males generally, and also the ominous bit about so much of this newly-valorized and newly-noticed crime taking place “in the home”.

That dynamic continues in his next sentence: “Rape studies” (the Note, Number 307 on p.280, references a single article from the Victimology journal) have shown that this violence emerges rather uniformly throughout the population, and does not confine itself to ‘subcultures of violence’, or to psychotic minds”. (p.57) Again, you see here that there is a clear effort to remove possible causal or explanatory factors that might detract from the momentum of a full-blown gender war based on these “findings”: this is a crisis that is spread throughout all males in the population (but – in a neat politically strategic and Correct twist – not among what might be called ‘minority’ males but rather white males of all classes … the historic Enemy of so many advocacies of the era).

Further, this is a crisis that is not caused by psychiatric problems (thus clearing the way for the assertion that the crisis is primarily – perhaps purely – a result of gender itself, specifically the male gender).

“Rapists”, he continues, "share the same sexist beliefs prevailing throughout the population; they differ only in how they act out their attitudes”. (p.57) (The supporting Note, 308 on p.280, references a single article in a Victimology journal.) He is speaking of “rapists” here, although it is unclear just what his definition of that act entails; I would imagine that at this early period it does indeed refer to rape in the older, clear, pre-Mania sense rather than to the vastly-expanded elastic definitions that came into major use once the Mania was up and running.

Immediately, he goes on “While spouse abusers’ other characteristics” … and here there is a sudden elision of ‘rapists’ and ‘spouse abusers’. The second term, ominously, not only reinforces the developing assault on the family and its ‘hearth’ setting, but also quietly conflates ‘rape’ and that now-trusty suitcase-term, ‘abuse’. And then he simply puts it out there: although there are factors such as alcoholism, prior abuse and “feelings of oppression” among the rapists, yet “the underlying force of such violence seems to have more to do with culturally legitimated male dominance than particular offender traits”. (both quotes in this paragraph, p.57) (And the Note supporting this assertion, 309 on p.280, references several authors, including Susan Brownmiller, at the time a noted radical feminist.)

So, in other words, the focus – in best gender war agenda fashion – must not be on the characteristics and problems of the perpetrator, but rather on the whole ‘male’ thing throughout the culture. This, neatly, removes the clinical and rehabilitative focus, which itself would detract from the focus on the Victim by implying that the perpetrators too were somehow ‘deep victims’ (my term). You can’t have, in agitprop ops, a situation of ‘duelling victims’ where both parties are somehow victims; you must have a Victim and a Perp (and the more monstrous the Perp the better). That’s Propaganda 101.

Again, complexity and careful assessment of the problem is sacrificed to quick-burning, melodramatic, and almost cartoonish Good-Evil characterizations. And this, as I have been saying, lends itself not to careful scholarly study with an eye to accurate informing of the deliberations of public opinion nor even with an eye to the transmission of efficacious policy-proposals to deliberating legislators. No, this is the purposeful and deliberate building up of a sharp, vivid full-court propaganda press toward the ramrod achievement of a particular political agenda regardless of any complexities or nuances abiding within the identified problem itself.

A single example is included: the sale of baseball bats with “wife-beater” inscribed upon them. (p.57) I’ve never seen such a bat, although – along with a million other distasteful bits of flotsam and jetsam – I can imagine that here and there in pockets among this huge and complex aggregation of sub-cultures in the country there are stores that sell such things, and perhaps among a certain type of clientele sell enough of them to break even or make a small profit. But to create the Mania as we now know it, and the gender war that I am convinced plays a great part in sustaining it, on the basis of such things is a lethal stretch indeed.

He immediately moves forward with another shrewd gambit: The existence of “things like this” (referring to the baseball bats) “might also make women, usually less inclined toward violence, change their behavior for the worse, such as in child abuse where the women who commit such violence usually have been battered by their husbands”. (p.57) (The Note, 311 on p.280) references a single 1977 article in the journal “Victimology” entitled ‘Significant Findings in Child Abuse Research’. I point out that ‘battering’ is now and perhaps was then a rather elastic term, and further that there would have to be a method built into whatever research was conducted to factor-out women who were caught child abusing and then sought to escape the consequences by surfing the cultural waves and blaming the husband for wife-battering – a distasteful but hardly improbable possibility.) And tactically, this assertion clears the way of accusing the male not only of his own purported abusing of the female but also of the abuse perpetrated by the female upon the child (his abuse ‘made’ her do it).

If you build up enough of this type of assertion, based on these type of ‘studies’, you create a venerable tissue or web of ‘knowledge’ with which to overwhelm the public’s ability and the legislators’ ability to deliberate.

And, of course, if politically and vote-minded legislators are already eager to please a large new ‘demographic’ – or at least its self-declared advocates – then the pols might even be uninterested in accuracy so long as such a compendium and web – perhaps not read but simply measured in pounds of paper or feet of shelf space – gave them ‘rational basis’ for whatever ‘Findings’ they would claim when passing ‘friendly’ legislation.

This, I would say, is a major element in the ‘success’ of getting the Mania going and of sustaining it. It is also, from a larger point of view, a profoundly lethal derangement and corruption of the integrity of the legislative process, and – I would say – one so broad, deep, and so long entrenched that it has quite probably contributed to the derangement of the functional deliberative integrity of almost the entire sitting political class.** This web of facts simply becomes one more un-read bit of ‘proof’ that helps legislators to close the ‘deal’ with the advocacies.

And then, of course, such a thick tome as Elias’s, perhaps accompanied by boxes and boxes of photocopied ‘studies’ such as those referred to in his Notes, give courts the ostensible ‘reason’ for declaring the legislators’ productions ‘reasonable’.

And the beat goes on.


*My copy is the paperback version put out by Oxford UP in 1986. It bears the ISBN 0-19-503980-7. It will be unwieldy to include both Chapter Titles and sub-headings as well as page numbers, in case you have a different edition. I will stick to only using page references when I make quotations, but for especially important points I will do so.

**And such derangement and corruption being a dynamic sort of thing, it has probably not remained limited to the pols’ performance in Matters Mania but rather has moved on to infect their official performance along a wide spectrum of national and international issues.


The male is endowed with greater physical strength and greater and more highly reactive aggressive potential, and that deep urge to maximize successful contributions of his genes to the pool. Defense and gene propagation seem the overall evolutionary tasks for which males have been prepared. Add to that the evolutionary provision for the human infant to be born relatively immature (so that the head that will house that big brain will fit through the birth canal) and the female consequently provided with specially-evolved advantages for nurture, and you can see how any human society that develops is going to have to take these basic evolutionary realities into account.

The male, possessed of so much potential for aggression and reactivity, as well as so much strength, must – it seems to me – be especially provided for such that he can be educated into the mature and socially constructive and beneficial use of the powers with which he has been endowed by evolution. This would have to be a vital task of a culture and a civilization.

What has happened in this country seems to me very much not the way to proceed. The attack on the integrity of the family (fathers abuse everybody) and even the very need for the family (‘children are the State’s problem, as Christina Hoff Sommers quoted one radical feminist) as well as the Mania assault on males as parents and as youth … none of these contribute to the successful and effective training of males.

In regard to genuine sex-offenses perpetrated by males, and eliminating the numbers (whatever they may be) of genuinely mentally-ill perpetrators of such offenses, then we are left with what I would say are an awful lot of males not trained and not-matured in the use of their powers for the common weal.

What would be needed is a program to ensure that young males are responsibly trained – preferably by their own successfully matured fathers – in that vital window of opportunity in the early years of life. This would certainly be a legitimate government interest, even if that interest were more prudently to be serviced by intermediary organizations and communities rather than by central-government law and regulation.

To address the matter of males’ energies being ‘civilized’ by teaching and modeling a certain mature mastery of their powers in the vital window of youth … this would have been a vital need best met by a government information program – possibly with some economic incentives – to help the vital parents and mediating institutions and communities in actually fulfilling this task.

Instead, for what I think are largely political reasons that do not justify what has been done, the government opted for supporting a literal gender-based war on males, on the basis of accurate observations that male energies must be matured and mastered but also on the basis of grossly distorted and often inaccurate and skewed conclusions that would fuel not a concern for educating males but a fearful reaction aimed at imprisoning them and tagging them.

And given the simultaneous government support for programs designed to weaken the family and to often create social space for weak parenting and fatherless settings in the matter of child-rearing, you wind up with a self-licking ice cream cone from Hell: young males are not being trained by mature male parents, they fall afoul of increasingly draconian criminal laws (and ‘administrative’ registries) that expand not only according to the iron laws of well-funded government programs (which will never commission a study that will ‘find’ that the program is no longer necessary or hugely mistaken) but also according to the automatically intensifying dynamic whereby some government-supported initiatives create the problem and another initiative (the Mania Regime) must intensify to solve the problem that the other programs are greatly helping to create. And within the space of a decade or two, cohorts of children thus under-prepared are creating and raising (or not) children themselves.

Think of a fire department where half the engines are on one side of the building pouring water onto the flames, while the other half are on the other side of the building pumping gasoline onto the flames. Maybe even a quarter of the engines pumping water and … do the math.

The idea that ‘kids are the State’s problem’ is hugely wrong-headed. Even if you had a program of State-run orphanages to capture that vital character-building and maturity-grounding ‘window’ in a child’s early years (and who wants to see THAT kind of institution develop?), you still couldn’t replicate what a decently functioning family presided over by competent parents living in coherent and cohesive communities could accomplish.

Young males are increasingly liable to be raised with little help for mastering their male energies (and I am not simply referring to sexual energies or ‘sex education’). And in a national culture where ‘character’ and ‘maturity’ and ‘mastery’ are no longer considered valid or ‘real’ requirements for adulthood, the State’s sovereign power will have to rely increasingly on the bald force of the criminal law to maintain social order.

This is not only a catastrophe for young males but also for American society and culture.

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