As we await Trump’s likely humiliation in the second debate, I was anticipating a quiet week of quantitative analysis, perhaps with a meaty follow-up post on my current favorite topic, whence voteth the third partiers and undecideds come November 8th? <Sigh>
Instead, along comes Trump’s number one advocate Rudy Guiliani, raging that Trump just has to be a better choice than a woman. Hey, as loathsome a remark as it is, at least he’s saying what he obviously really believes. His candidate Trump is incapable of such sincerity.
Anyway, thanks to Tweedledum and Tweedledummer, I have a chance to discuss something about the 2016 election the reader won’t find on TV, or in the formidable New York Times. Herewith, a tale that stretches back millions of years of cold, unsympathetic time.
Thanks to changes in the East African climate, five or six million years ago the main Homininae line of Great Apes split in two. One of the two evolutionary lines became the Chimpanzees and the other became the Humanzees. Both groups were violent, intensely territorial, and socially sophisticated. Both were essentially arboreal initially, but spent their waking hours on the ground — grooming, having sex, gathering food, killing small animals and occasionally, one another. Both were gathered into small, male-dominated tribal groups, with one male at the top of the tribal hierarchy, and the other males trying to dislodge him. As is still the case today for both groups of ‘Zees, the main motivator to be the local greatest ape was access to females for breeding and sex.
Both groups walked on all fours, but both stood up briefly to look for threats or reach food on bushes or the lower branches of trees. The two groups were thus hard to distinguish for a million or two years after the genetic split, but then, the various Humanzee derivative species gradually evolved a standing posture, while the chimps stayed in the ancestral mode of walking on all fours.
Both groups learned to make and use tools, but the Humanzees were able to make tools that became technologies — where the skill-sets of making and using were sharable and communicable outside one’s tribe. This in turn allowed a given technology like, say, throwing a sharp stick, to evolve independently of any particular Humanzee tribe.
Standing up freed our hands for new tasks, and therefore was the primary cause of our becoming the innovative ape. We needn’t go into the details of how and why. Suffice to say standing gave us enormous advantages as a species, including a half-million years of superior weapons development, a wide-ranging aggressive mobility, and a male-centered power culture where females were relegated to sexual service, child-rearing, gathering nuts and berries, and cooking the meat brought home by their owners. Progress, right? Yes, for the few strongest and smartest males in the clan. But the females and weaker males benefited, too. More meat and better security. Obey, and live essentially in slavery, but at least you’ll be fed and protected.
All these many eons, as we’re learning from behavioral genetics, the fundamental mammalian gender division persisted, under the command of our ancestors’ genes: males are for fighting; females are for f**cking.
The slow grind of technological development did not not lessen our genetically bestowed male sense of authority, only enhanced it. Technologies were continually refined and invented, especially those related to hunting, warfare, and mobile migration. Almost all of the technologies were developed by Humanzee males, since females were by and large excluded from knowing the secrets of hunting or military or economic power. No doubt a better way found by a woman for dressing animal skins was appreciated, but the technique did not kill anything, or stop another male from raiding the clan’s camp, so did not bring the inventor any real power.
As the last Ice Age was drawing to a close, clans of male-ruled Humanzee tribes fanned out from Africa and quickly came to dominate all habitable regions of the planet. One can be sure that most females alive through these tens of thousands of years of explosive migration and conquest were little more than chattel and sexual slaves to the male warriors.
Did females protest their, to our eyes, oppression? Sorry, fellow Progressives, but the answer is no. In fact, to the contrary, the slowly advancing diminution and suppression of females was reinforced in their own genetically-driven behavior, as they acquiesced to the conditions of male power. Those who failed to submit were doubtless sold or worse.
But then, about ten thousand years ago, the most recent Ice Age ended, and another round of climate change gave us agriculture. Our male-controlled social hierarchies were forced to adapt, and, cutting out the chase, led us to vastly different cultures. But in all these “neolithic” and later cultures over a dozen millennia, the males at the top continued to wield all political and economic power. As the size of dominated populations increased, the power elites developed authoritarian, male-worshiping religious mythologies and structures to extend their control of the ruled females and weaker males. “God’s” principal purpose was to police the minds and behavior of females, or to explain any inconvenient failures by the ruling elite. Females were, and, if we look honestly at the global numbers, largely still are treated as property in practice, if not in law.
Fast forward to the 20th Century, and the breakdown of the traditional male-dominated power structure in massive wars and revolutions. Only in the last six decades have we seen a tiny number of females advance to hold meaningful political power, and in this new century, a few more rise to head a few major corporations. The handful of females to hold national political power since WW2 have been, of necessity, strong figures. The gradual enfranchisement of females meant they had a chance to rise in their national political establishments, and these women had the will and the skill to exploit the occasional crack in the glass ceiling.
But not in the U.S.A.
The genetic inheritance all males (and females, too) share had been allowed to go unchallenged here, until women were granted the right to vote. Then, in the decades after 1950, American women began to benefit from their emerging participation in the workplace. Many entered politics, most of them indirectly, like Hillary Clinton, but a few as candidates. Much progress has been made. But in no case has a woman held consequential national power: even a Secretary of State acts only at the express direction of her President. Now, after nearly 40 years of relentless work in public service, Clinton has mounted a direct and powerful assault on the highest and thickest glass ceiling in our country. So? What makes her case special, as compared to the great women who achieved the top rung of their respective ladder in India, Europe, or, briefly, Australia?
The profound difference is this: none of these women held the ultimate power as the undisputed military leader of the world. Her accession as lead protector of the global community forces us to look ourselves and our ancestors in the mirror.
Her opponent is so odious and incompetent that many Republicans, along with pundits and TV baby anchors ask “If she’s so superior, why isn’t her lead in the polls much larger?”. Or they dwell on “Why is she still so heartily distrusted?”. Or they get mired in worries about her “stamina”, meaning of course her stamina as a frail female compared to a big, loud male bully. Clearly, Clinton faces an added burden of proof that she is qualified to be our next President. Why?
The answer, my friend, is flowing in our genes.
Americans have finally been forced to come face to face with history and socio-political evolution. We must choose to hand over the ultimate military and police authority to a female, and deep within us, our genetically dictated behavioral command center is utterly opposed to this insane notion. Like it or not, an objective reading of our antecedents and history warns us that a very substantial proportion of otherwise allegedly “civilized” males, and probably nearly as many females, simply cannot accept the fundamental idea that women are up to and deserving of the ultimate power on Earth.
This, not phony rage against the “establishment” or a private email server, is the deepest-seated reason for the success of a con-man and hate-merchant like Donald Trump. This frightening vision of unmanly forced submission by millions of ignorant male chauvinists to her authority as Head of State is what drives them to Trumpism. The resentment of her “uppity” challenge to righteous male authority is what drags so many of the women to rallies where she is excoriated and condemned.
The great majority of these Trump supporters are not truly “deplorable”; few are outright racists-in-action, as opposed to racist in reaction. One cannot label a dumb beast as deplorable. No, these folks simply failed to hear or heed the message: “You can behave according to a rational creed of justice, science, and reason, or to the obsolete biological dictates coursing through your cells.”
It’s apparent Giuliani missed the message, too; perhaps he was screaming something stupid at the time, or maybe he was being stopped-and-frisked for criminal ignorance.