Free men are not equal, equal men are not free.

Friday, February 10, 2017

David Weber and Womens Lib

I still remember when I first stumbled into a copy of Honor Among Enemies at the base library.

No, I didn't start David Weber's epic mega-series at the beginning.

So it's not with great sadness anymore - as this decision was made over a year ago - that I'm basically buying nothing of his anymore. I may - may I repeat - get the Zahn prequels, but the overlapping stories of the two main current-time branches are losing me, and he did two things that really turned me off on an author I've otherwise greatly enjoyed (and you can pry my copy of Death Ground out of my... you get the point...) and who is frankly a far more skilled storyteller than Scalzi.

It's always been pretty obvious that, despite being fairly conservative in a number of ways, he also is the archetype of the churchian feminist. Sure, he hangs a lampshade on most of his earlier instances, but case after case after case he goes for the female supergrrrrllll, not the least of which was Honor herself. Nevertheless, a lot of it was kept to a dull roar or otherwise lampshaded, while he wove stories integrating the closest thing space opera offers to technothriller weapons porn with a sweep of history and politics that showed a significant fundamental understanding of how people, trends, ideas, and technology impacted the great sweep of events.

So I was highly disappointed to hear him on the D6Generation making the comment that he's quite happy to see societies be ignorant enough to not let half their population participate and join the workforce, because they would be ruled by his daughters. I wasn't even that red-pilled at the time and that struck me as simply wrong. It amazed me even more because he had earlier pointed out how it was technology that gave women the opportunity to compete on a more level playing field.

My very first thought was - what if the technology becomes unavailable? What happens if you suddenly don't have all of those "equalizers" and men and women suddenly have to play to their strengths when it comes to combat, work, and raising kids?

I can also state that, technology is nice, but you'd have to have a practically magic set of power armor to render differences in human strength, endurance, and reaction times moot in giving people an edge over the other. Sure, a lot of the absolute differences can be made relatively small - guns take away a huge degree of the difference in size and strength, and to a lesser degree, skill and reactions - but it will still exist. There are still too many places on ships, and modern vehicles where raw strength is needed to get something moved into place quickly.

And freeing up half the workforce?

Lets imagine we have artificial wombs. Great. So you managed to cut down pregnancy related downtime to a month or two at most. Let's also imagine this has no long term hormonal, endocrinal, or other effects.


Who takes care of the child? A parent has to, and overhead costs in "thread switching" between parents will cause them both to be less efficient at their work than if one worked and the other did not.

Well, day care! Right? I'd have to dig up the studies, but Stefan Molyneux cites that leaving a child in daycare most days of the week has the same impact on them as if you had simply abandoned them.

Besides, attentive childcare does not scale. Yes, one daycare nanny can take care of or watch a larger group of kids, but not by giving them attention. Dedicated attention is something that will be rarely given out - and larger families ensure sufficient attention by enlisting the older kids to help with responsibilities, babysitting, etc. - something a "everyone is the same age" daycare setup cannot handle. It's basically a hellhole of same-age kids running around largely unsupervised, already emotionally hurt because they feel like mommy abandoned them.

And who the hell is he to denigrate the work done by those mothers? Who is he to put down the generations before technological assistance who made the choice that worked for their societies and shaped their children?

Finally - who the fuck is he, or anyone, to say that it's perfectly OK to have a career in childcare but not OK to raise your own kids instead? Someone's got to do it, and do it right. It doesn't scale well done right. Done right, the people not doing childcare get to concentrate on their work and be more productive.

To get that "extra 50%" - more like 90%(update: 90% total, more like 40%), means a massive drop in the productivity in the parents, and problems with succeeding generations. Suddenly, one wonders if only having 50% "working" may not actually be better.

So that was the first item.

The second?

One of the Tor-published "Safehold" books - which I'd since stopped buying because "Tor."

That and it had started wandering off the rails in "the story never ends" sense too.

Nimue is a superpowered, immortal,  grrrlll power AI android carrying the personality of her source human, disguised (the bodies can transform) as a man. Several other woman characters were also brilliant spymasters, etc.

I could deal with that, easier even in more blue pill days. The "building up technology" path was cool.

There comes a scene several books in where a rescued princess is being taught how to shoot, and the horribly oafish - as bad as any L&O:SVU episode - misogynistic guardsman is "taught a lesson" by android Nimue, as a girl, who using superior mass, speed, strength, and near indestructibility takes him apart in hand to hand combat, breaking bones, etc. in the process.

If one wanted to make a point about "girls can", one could have had her show off shooting skills, or teach the princess and have her show off shooting skills.

No. In a society that was still largely steam driven, and even that was a recent advance, where muscle power was still a huge factor in combat, instead of showing off how well an equalizer could be used, she took apart a much larger man that no other woman on the planet could match, ever.

And the "good guys", who watched it via surveillance, gave their tacit approval.

That, for me, right there, lost it. Period.

I'm not getting rid of the Weber books I do have, but I'm never buying another one.


  1. I still have my copies of the Stars at War series. It's very very good. But the one thing that I could never figure out was the insistence that both David Weber and Steve White had on putting STRAWNG EMPOWAHED WIMMENZ in combat roles all the time.

    I suppose it made more sense eight years ago when I started reading the books- this was back before I'd really discovered the Manosphere- but eventually it dawned on me that having female Marines in power armour and female badass starship captains and female fighter pilots was just a tad ridiculous.

    There are only two ways you can believe all of that. The first is to lobotomise yourself. The second is to depend entirely on epic amounts of handwavium- which is precisely what David Weber does in that series, what with reactionless drives, combat "zoots", warp nodes, and so on.

    The moment you remove the handwavium, though, the whole edifice falls apart.

    1. The Starfire based books have less of that than Webers other work, but yeah, it's a theme with him. And he finally got to the point where he proved he not only had a blind spot related to the consequences of something he damn well understood - how technology is a force multiplier - but then jumped the shark on the whole "woman teaching a man to respect mah authoritah" thing.

      The character is so obviously bad that I can't feel much sympathy for him being shown up... but seriously, then, do it in a way that natural born humans could actually compete.

      That - and the approval of the others - was just vile, and completely at odds with their previous character.