The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Happiness Gap

Posted on | January 10, 2019 | No Comments

 

The secret to happiness is low expectations.

In an affluent modern society, most of our emotional problems can be described as disappointment, originating in the failure of life to match our fondest hopes and ambitions. It’s not that the life we actually have is necessarily bad, but that we can imagine so many ways it could be better. So instead of being happy with the adequacy of our lives, we make ourselves miserable by thinking of how far our lives are from an imagined ideal. By the standards of most human beings throughout the world, or of our own ancestors in previous ages, the middle-class American’s life is a paradise of ease and luxury. Why shouldn’t we be happy?

Despite this objective reality — Americans have got it good — we are living amid an epidemic of mental illness, a plague of anxiety and depression that especially affects young women. Many experts blame this problem on excessive exposure to social media:

Now, a new study from the University of Essex and University College London finds that teenagers who spend more hours a day on social media have a greater risk for depression, and the connection appears to be particularly pronounced for girls.
The team looked at data from over 10,000 14-year-olds taking part in the UK Millennial Cohort Study. Participants filled out questionnaires about their social media use, and about their mental health—for instance, depression symptoms were assessed by the Moods and Feelings Questionnaire (the teens rated how much they agreed or disagreed with statements like, “I felt miserable or unhappy,” “I didn’t enjoy anything at all,” “I felt so tired I just sat around and did nothing” over the past two weeks).
In general, girls used social media more than boys, with 40% of girls, and 20% of boys, using it for more than three hours per day. Only 4% of girls reported abstaining completely, compared to 10% of boys.
And the more a person used social media, the greater their likelihood for experiencing depression symptoms: 12% of light social media users and 38% of heavy social media users had depression symptoms.

The fact is that men and women use social media in different ways, for different purposes. To generalize quite broadly, women care more about friendship than men, and use social media as a way of monitoring and/or enhancing their popularity. Because popularity — social status — is a transient and unstable value, anyone who becomes excessively concerned with it is chasing the wind. As students of evolutionary psychology have argued, however, this female concern with social status is a sort of survival instinct and is thus hardwired into women’s nature, and it gives rise to the poisonous emotion of envy. Sigmund Freud once remarked: “It must be admitted that women have but little sense of justice, and this is no doubt connected with the preponderance of envy in their mental life.” This has been cited by feminists as evidence of Freud’s misogyny, but the phenomenon he described is quite real, and intelligent women are aware of this problem. In fact, feminists themselves have lamented how envy has been harmful to their movement.

In the early days of the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s and ’70s, feminists identified this problem as “trashing.” As soon as any woman attained prominence as a leader of the movement, she would be attacked by other feminists envious of her success. This happened to Kate Millett and Shulamith Firestone, among others, and was evident in the aftermath of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 defeat, when a round of finger-pointing ensued with “white feminism” being blamed for her loss.

Feminists have complained about the “wage gap” between men and women, and critics have shown this to be a statistical mirage. What has received less attention is the happiness gap — the greater levels of discontent among women, a problem that the feminist movement will not address in any meaningful way, because it is the purpose of feminism to incite discontent as a force to be harnessed for political activism.

Of course, feminists insist that men are the problem:

For the first time in its history, the American Psychological Association (APA) released guidelines concerning men and boys, saying that so-called “traditional masculinity” not only is “harmful” but also could lead to homophobia and sexual harassment.
“The main thrust of the subsequent research is that traditional masculinity — marked by stoicism, competitiveness, dominance and aggression — is, on the whole, harmful,” reads the news release by the famed association.
It notes that research shows “traditional masculinity is psychologically harmful and that socializing boys to suppress their emotions causes damage that echoes both inwardly and outwardly.”
The 36-page document goes on to coin “masculinity ideology,” which stems from traditional masculinity, and claims that it harms boys and men.

What is particularly misguided here is the attack on stoicism. Why, we must ask, are boys taught to “suppress their emotions”?

Answer: Because these emotions cause conflict and violence.

The ability to endure hardship without complaint, and to stifle one’s resentment of minor insults, is necessary to male survival. Stoicism is conducive to male success, because cooperation is impossible if everyone’s sulking over their hurt feelings. There’s an old saying, “If you’re not the lead dog on the sled, the view never changes.” Effective teamwork requires us to accept organizational hierarchy as necessary to the joint effort. If you don’t like the coach’s rules, you can quit the team, but so long as you are a member of the team, you must uphold the coach’s authority. The childish attitude that manifests itself as whining self-pity must be prohibited in order for the team to maintain esprit de corps.

A stoic mindset — “mental toughness,” as I would call it — is conducive to success, and successful people are happier than failures, so why is the American Psychological Association targeting stoicism as a harmful aspect of “toxic masculinity”? Insofar as any man engages in toxic behavior, it’s certainly not because he’s been studying stoic philosophy (e.g., Marcus Aurelius). The mastery of one’s own emotions — the ability to remain calm amid adversity, to behave rationally in a crisis — is the proper lesson of stoicism. The true motive of the APA’s attack on “toxic masculinity” lies not in anything wrong with stoicism, but rather a problem in the field of psychology. About two-thirds of practicing psychologists (65% in 2016) are women, and among those 40 and younger, 80% of psychologists are female.

The declining number of males in the field of psychology can be explained by discrimination in academia. In recent decades, a concern for “diversity” among university administrators has made it nearly impossible for males (especially white males) to be hired as professors in the fields of sociology and psychology. As the faculty in these fields are now overwhelmingly female, the curriculum has become infused with anti-male bias. There is an overlap between the psychology faculty and university Gender Studies departments, so that the typical psychology professor is now a radical feminist ideologue, and it is therefore hardly surprising that very few male students major in psychology.

Feminists now control the American Psychological Association, and feminists are not interested in helping men be happy. The fundamental purpose of feminism is to deprive men of happiness — identify something that makes men happy, and then destroy it. This new APA report about “toxic masculinity” is nothing more than a typical feminist exercise in demonizing and scapegoating males, per se. Have I mentioned lately that Deborah Frisch was once a psychology professor?

 

Colorado Inmate 182605 has a Ph.D. in psychology and was a tenure-track faculty member at the University of Oregon before she went off the rails. Her descent into complete madness was apparent long before she was sentenced to the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility. If an expertise in psychology leads to happiness, why is Dr. Frisch sitting in a Colorado prison? What happened to her may involve personal problems that are unrelated to her academic specialty, but certainly her advanced degrees in psychology did not inoculate her against insanity.

The epidemic of mental illness among young women cannot be explained by invoking a feminist theory of “toxic masculinity.” What the APA has done is to scapegoat males by demonizing traditional masculine values. If women are unhappy, men are to blame, but if men are unhappy, men are to blame for that, too! Feminist control of the psychology profession has produced “research” that claims to prove that (a) males are universally evil, and (b) women are never responsible for their own problems.

Well, I certainly can’t tell these “experts” what to do. They haven’t solicited my advice, and the APA is free to go to hell in the time and manner of their own choosing. All I can do is maintain my stoic resolve, to remain calm and cheerful as I bid them bon voyage.



 

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