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Culture War Roundup for the week of March 18, 2024

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I am kindly asking this knowledgable community to check my data and my argument.

Fact 1

In the 2024 state of the union address Biden said:

Women are more than half of our population but research on women’s health has always been underfunded.

Biden used this argument to call for more funding for women's health research:

That’s why we’re launching the first-ever White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research, led by Jill who is doing an incredible job as First Lady. Pass my plan for $12 Billion to transform women’s health research and benefit millions of lives across America!

Fact 2

The NIH 2017, 2018 and 2019 research budget breakdown is:

  • Gender neutral research: 80% of funding.

  • Women's health research: 14% of funding.

  • Men's health research: 6% of funding.

Source: Report of the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health: 2017–2019, table 8, page 117.

In other words, Biden was not saying the truth because at least in 2017, 2018 and 2019 women's health research received more than double the funding compared to man's health research.

Note 2.1

83% of all medical research in the US is funded via NIH. The other 17% may be funded via private foundations and organizations, pharmaceutical companies and other for-profit entities, or via state and local governments.


Note 2.2

Funding of the reproductive & maternal care is certainly justified and will be always reported as women's specific research funding - but only about 7%-10% of the women's health research was in the "Reproductive & Maternal/Child/Adolescent Health" category.

Source: Report of the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health: 2017–2019, table 9, page 117.

Note 2.3

NIH defines “Women’s health conditions,” as...

...defined in section 141 of the NIH Revitalization Act of 1993 (PublicLaw 103–43), include all diseases, disorders, and conditions:

  • That are unique to, more serious in, or more prevalent in women
  • For which the factors of medical risk or types of medical intervention are different for women or for which it is unknown whether such factors or types are different for women
  • With respect to which there has been insufficient clinical research involving women as subjects or insufficient clinical data on women

Source: Report of the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health: 2021–2022

Note 2.4

After 2019, the NIH has decided to stop calculating data on men's health research funding. This means that it will no longer be possible to show that men's health research is grossly underfunded compared to women's health research. I wonder what the motivation was for this decision.

NIH does not currently calculate or report annual funding associated with projects dedicated solely to men’s health or projects benefiting men and women.

Source: Report of the Advisory Committee on Research on Women’s Health: 2021–2022

Fact 3

Globally men suffer 53.4% of all Burden of Disease.

Global Burden of Disease:

Note 3.1

In the US specifically:

Men over the past decade have shown poorer health outcomes than women across all racial and ethnic groups as well as socioeconomic status.

PS: I do not consider the argument "research on women’s health is underfunded because all health research is underfunded" a good faith argument.

I do not see flaws in your in reasoning. But arguing against "women are the primary victims of war", "11% of killed journalists are women" type statements which value utils experienced by women higher than those of men, is a dead end. Women Are Wonderful is a universal and powerful bias. It makes sense in patriarchies, because if women have as much rights as children, then they also deserve greater protection. But in egalitarian state, in which women are considered to be able to make their own choices and are allowed to do so, granting them extra consideration is a textbook example of privilege.

On the other hand, perhaps thinking women are just as capable as men is a paradigm which doesn't explain present gender relations. But thinking women as being akin to people with disability does. A person in a wheelchair or a person with blindness are given the same rights as a person with working legs and eyes, but also some on top. Like the ADA which demands resources be expended for the sole benefit of the disabled.

Going back to healthcare funding, just because women's health gets twice as much money as men's, and American women live on average 5.8 years longer than American men, it doesn't mean US women are experiencing peak possible health, just as all lectures being subtitled doesn't mean all natural handicaps which nature imposed on those unlucky by birth or accident, have been overcome.

Mary Harrington, feminist reactionary extraordinaire, claims the current gender paradigm views women as defective men, which is similar to your comparison to the disabled.

The male ideal is universal, and as women have biological impediments towards that ideal (periods, pregnancy, lower physical strength), women should be given accommodations to achieve that ideal (lower expectations at certain times of the month; pregnancy should not hinder career prospects; systems in place to guarantee women’s safety in potentially dangerous situations).

What I find an odd cultural quirk however is that men are in many ways seen as defective women. The desire to subordinate aggressive, domineering, or high energy men a la toxic masculinity being one such example. The emphasis on a female model of learning within school that requires being still and listening for long periods of time and the subsequent reprimands or potential medication for boys that can’t live up to that standard.

The current paradigm is "women's bodies are defective male bodies, men's brains are defective women's brains." That's not an explicit viewpoint or something that anyone intends directly, it's the outcome of the slow process of commoditizing human beings and molding them into good little workers and subjects who are obedient, pliant, and don't rock the boat. Anything that stops them from doing this is a flaw which the powers that be seek to destroy -- signal-boosting any ideology that seems likely to accomplish it. Once again, this isn't a conspiracy; it's a prospiracy, a side effect of powerful institutions doing what powerful institutions do, and of humans in powerful positions doing what humans do: endorsing ideologies that subconsciously go along with their pre-existing goals. This is the origin of "woke capital."

Women are more likely to uphold institutions and, as girls, to sit still for long periods of time (like you say), and are less likely to shout loudly about the emperor having no clothes. Men are less likely to do things that remove them from the workplace for a period of time (especially bear children), and more likely to slave away at work for hours on end while abandoning their families at home.

Institutions, especially corporations, want their employees to be male in the ways that benefit them and female in the ways that benefit them. They don't want people, they want androgynous commoditized worker bees. They want cattle and not pets, human docker containers cloned and scaled at will from the amorphous "cloud" of the "workforce." The end desire of the system is Kubernetes for human beings. You will own nothing and you will be happy, and your storage will be separated from your compute and kept in trust by Amazon.

My girlfriend has gotten explicit advice that she should never get pregnant, it will "hurt her career." She detests these people who have established a system that expects her to sacrifice her biological and spiritual drive to bear and raise beloved children in the name of economic productivity and ruthless inhuman competition. This system sees bearing and raising the next generation of human beings, the most fundamental purpose of society, as a distraction from the more worthy goal of creating wealth for Wall Street. It asks this of men too, but because of the unchangable realities of being a sexually-dimorphic mammalian species, this requirement hurts women more than men. The entrance of women into the workforce on the same terms as men is the true systemic oppression of women. The left used to know this, like when Elizabeth Warren wrote The Two Income Trap. But it has forgotten it as its funding has shifted to corporations "woke" to their own interests, who are more likely to fund the striking of a child in the womb than to pay for the care of that which is born. And the abortionist feminists celebrate them for their avarice like good little girls.

The goal isn't to turn men into women or women into men. That's an ideological side effect, like "Communism" in Stalinist Russia. The goal of Stalin was to empower himself. And so it is with woke capitalism. (Perhaps real woke has never been tried?)

She detests these people who have established a system that expects her to sacrifice her biological and spiritual drive to bear and raise beloved children in the name of economic productivity and ruthless inhuman competition.

Is that actually correct? Unrestrained capitalism, as far as it's political, is associated with the right. Women having equality in the workforce with men is associated with the left, and continues to be.

You could equally well have argued, in the years before women's rights, that companies wanted women to stay at home so as to support the men working long hours in the name of economic productivity and ruthless inhuman competition.

As Ayn Rand points out, collectivism will always seek to override the individual choices of a person to fulfill their own happiness. Whether that be building a skyscraper or turning a child into a civilized adult, a woman’s agency is just as valuable when deliberately chosen, not coerced or bullied. In any collectivist system, right or left, the able bodies and capable minds of those able to work are coerced into working for the collective instead of working for their own happiness.

But the soul is still oracular; amid the market's din,

List the ominous stern whisper from the Delphic cave within,

—"They enslave their children's children who make compromise with sin."

I'm having trouble parsing the last verse.

Who is "who"? Is it "They" or the "children's children"? The logic of the phrase points to "They" but there is no comma.

A more understandable rephrasing is probably "They who make compromise with sin, enslave their children's children".

I love this poem. Any more you'd like to share?

Not at this time; I usually am reminded of them by relevant context.

That particular verse appeared as Arc Words in Scott Alexander's novel UNSONG.