I’ve had a bump in hits of late, and it appears to be because one of my posts is being discussed over at Lutheran Surrealism. Welcome, all of you!
Most of my posts are going to be on subjects I planned before I even started this blog, but sometimes comments get me to thinking. That’s what this post is going to be about.
First order of business: After reading the thoughts of regular readers and thinking it over, I have decided not to approve insulting comments, even if they do have a modicum of content. People who wish to disagree with me will have to do so without calling me names. It’ll be a broadening experience for them.
Part of the reason I decided this was that the more I thought about it, the angrier I felt at the word “redneck” being used as a slur. The most popular etymological explanation of this word is that it is derived from the sunburn white farmers get from the hours they spend outside, tending to the crops and livestock that feed and clothe all of us. I may be considered a snob, as I take class differences seriously, but there is a right way and a wrong way of being a snob. Feeling contempt for people who are in lower status professions than yourself is the wrong way. As Thomas Sowell articulated so well, “menial” jobs are vital to society.
Of course, when liberals sling the word “redneck” around, they mean those people, who aren’t educated (read: brainwashed) enough to share their enlightened opinions. Most liberals aren’t very bright, and for the dim, the only way to measure other people’s intelligence is to see how much they agree with oneself. If I had parroted the usual baloney about how of course women are completely equal to men in every way, she likely would have praised my intelligence. Since I disagree with her, I must be stupid, right? Only stupid people would disagree with her opinions!
It takes a keener intellect to judge intelligence by actual reasoning ability rather than by agreement. I cannot assume that someone who agrees with me that capitalism is good or that most women should be full-time wives and mothers is intelligent; they might only believe that because that’s how their parents raised them. On the other hand, I disagree with Ayn Rand about a lot of things, but I have to admit that she was much smarter than I am. The denizens of the Frankfurt School were unscrupulous and had warped values and promoted many false beliefs, but they were certainly not stupid.
Using the word “redneck” as a slur is insulting to the people who provide our food. Furthermore, it’s racist. It would be fatuous to claim that saying “redneck” is every bit as bad as saying “wetback” or nastier words that I’m not prepared even to quote, but that doesn’t mean that it’s all right. I wouldn’t delete a comment that discussed the higher crime rates among black and Latino Americans, but I would if they used ethnic slurs to denote those groups. Why should I tolerate a racist slur against a group I belong to? I wouldn’t let commenters call me nasty names based on my religion, why should I allow it based on my color?
WW, the commenter who speculated that I might be a “redneck man posting as a woman” has left a new comment in which she refrained from personal insults, so I approved it. I was actually going to invite her to make new comments, offering her ideas without the personal attacks.
Of course, she’s continued to attack me over at Lutheran Surrealism, where she declared:
Cassandra Goldman did not publish my comment on her blog. In fact the only comments she is publishing are those that are completely in agreement with her.
Why should I attempt to communicate with people who believe that the only two options available are “personal attacks” and “complete agreement”? Or who tell lies that anyone can debunk by bothering to read a few of the comments on my blog? Perhaps she hoped that everyone would just take her word for it and not read any of the comments here for themselves. WW, if you are still reading, you are welcome to continue to comment, but I will delete any comments that contain personal insults to me or any other commenter.
Second order of business: two of the gentlemen who comment here opined that I was too hard on working women, with my assertion that they aren’t very productive. Now, when people disagree with me in the same comment as calling me nasty names and making unfounded accusations and elsewhere tell lies about me, I’m inclined to dismiss them. But when people who have behaved in such a way to win my respect disagree, I have to think it over.
Most of my beliefs and opinions, I have an extensive bibliography I can quickly trot out to support. But my impression that most women in the workplace aren’t very productive isn’t one of those; it came from a combination of my personal observations (and anecdotal evidence is only useful, not definitive) and the implications of various things I’ve read. For example, the many books and articles I’ve read about the biological differences between the sexes. Or books that are critical of feminism.
Yesterday while I was going about my business, I found myself trying to think of how I could find data to support or disprove my assertion. Measuring actual workplace productivity is difficult. What are researchers going to do, stand over employees with a clipboard all day, marking down how many seconds they take to stretch their arms or take a sip of coffee? Well, it seems that researchers have in fact figured out ways to evaluate productivity:
Thirty-five percent — that’s how much productive work the average woman does in an eight-hour day! Women’s Health broke down the typical work day in its December issue and found out what we are doing with the remaining 65 percent of our time: Email, 20.83 percent; looking for stuff, 18.75 percent; interruptions, 12.5 percent; Internet searches, 12.92 percent.
Unfortunately, there weren’t matching stats for men. I’m linking this here mainly in case I eventually find some.
Sometimes you can find things out indirectly, though. I decided to look for data on absenteeism, the pay gap, and reasons for dismissal.
I thought that statistics on why men vs. women, get fired might provide some illumination, but I couldn’t dig any up. Even had I found them, I’m not sure what kind of conclusions I could have drawn. If I’m right that many women only remain employed because they would sue for sex discrimination if they were fired for lack of productivity, then the stats wouldn’t do much good. Actually, if you’ve ever wondered why today’s businesses have so many absurd regulations, it’s to protect employers from litigation. If you’re not a straight white male Gentile and you get fired for incompetence, you can sue for discrimination, and we all know that innocence is no defense from litigation. So if you don’t seem to be pulling your weight, or you don’t get on well with your co-workers and are causing friction, your boss can fire you citing some frivolous rule that everybody breaks. The rules are there to be broken. Your boss needs to have something on you.
Here’s what I did find:
Why Men Earn More: The Startling Truth Behind the Pay Gap and What Women Can Do About It
The far-left publication Publisher’s Weekly left this review of the book:
Why do men earn more than women? Because they deserve to, argues this contrarian challenge to feminist conventional wisdom. Men work longer hours at more dangerous and disagreeable jobs. They more readily accept night shifts, hardship postings to Alaska and entrepreneurial risks. Men get in-demand degrees in engineering, while women get degrees in French literature. Female librarians earn less than garbagemen, not because of discrimination, but because so many applicants compete for the safe, clean, comfortable, convenient, fulfilling jobs women prefer. Indeed, the author insists, statistics show that women and men with equal experience and qualifications, doing the same job, for the same hours, under the same conditions-get paid the same. Farrell, author of The Myth of Male Power, usefully points women towards high-paying, male-dominated fields that are becoming female friendly and suggests that ambitious women marry stay-at-home husbands. But he considers men the real victims, taken advantage of because of their innate chivalry and social expectations that they trade earning power for love and sex and be “willing to die to support the wives and children.” He decries anti-male discrimination in occupations like teaching, nursing and cocktail-waitressing, and pillories comparable worth initiatives as “spoiled-brat economics.” A whole chapter is devoted to “genetic celebrities”-i.e., beautiful women (exemplified in photos of same) whom men shower with free dinners, gifts and home repairs and who “marry up” into cushy lifestyles paid for by workaholic husbands. Ostensibly a road-map to workplace equality, Farrell’s portrait of pampered, ungrateful women and stoic, self-sacrificing men may strike some readers as an unhelpful caricature.
Why Women Still Make Less than Men
Women in the workforce are also less likely to work a full-time schedule and are more likely to leave the labor force for longer periods of time than men, further suppressing women’s wages. These differing work patterns lead to an even larger earnings gap between men and women – suggesting that working women are penalized for their dual roles as wage earners and those who disproportionately care for home and family.
The real reason women are paid less than men
I don’t much like the answer to this but here is what I think it is. Women are worth less to employers (male or female) than men are because they can’t be counted on to stay in their job for as long. I’m not saying that men don’t job hop all the time but in general an employer knows that if he gets paid well and treated nicely a man is likely to stay.
Women doctors ‘less productive than males’
Female absenteeism is not just about child care
Why women call in sick more than men is a complex workplace issue
Gender differences in absenteeism.
Reports from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1982) show that when aggregate absenteeism data was broken down by gender, men and women tend to exhibit different rates of absenteeism for different age groups. In 1980, men from 16 to 19 years of age have the highest incidence of absenteeism. The incidence of absenteeism decreases as men age, reaching a low for those in the 25-34 age group. Absenteeism rates for men fluctuate through middle age but increase in the oldest age group, those age 55 and up. Although women in the 16-19 age group also exhibit the highest incidence of absenteeism, the rates in the other groups are very dissimilar from those of men. Women have their next highest rates in the 25-34 age group and have their lowest rates between 35-44 and over 55.
Of course, it’s only scrupulous to cite data that appears sound even if it goes against your thesis, so:
Childless women are the most productive staff of all, study finds
The article said that men with children are the second most productive, and women with children the least.
The comments of Mr. Palmer and Mr. Smith, chiding me for being too hard on the fair sex, also had me mentally reviewing my personal experience with working women. I found myself thinking about my co-workers at every job I’ve ever had, every professional I’ve had to employ, and all the workplaces I’ve had to deal with. Certainly I’ve known some competent, hardworking women and some slacker men. (An old beaux of mine began his most lasting friendship with a man with whom he had apparently little in common, because the two of them found that they were doing most of the work in their office, regardless of the sex, rank, age, or education level of everyone else there. My own friends, male or female, usually turn out to be those with strong work ethics. I don’t screen prospective friends for that, it just happens that way.) Still, on the whole, my impression that men are much better workers still stands. And when I think of some of the harm that’s been caused me by female doctors, well, I know there are good ones out there, but I decline to play the Russian roulette game of hoping I manage to find one of them. When I need a doctor, I go to a man. I can’t think of anything bad a male doctor’s ever done to me.
Still, Mr. Palmer and Mr. Smith have given me hope. My own observations of working women are such that I have become highly skeptical of all of them. If these gentlemen are right, then the problem isn’t as bad as I perceive it to be. One nice thing about being a pessimist: it’s very pleasant to be proven wrong.
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