People seem keen to defend the idea of Women & Children First (WCF) on some crypto-survivalist grounds, implying that the idea has ancient roots. The reasoning goes something like this: “WCF is an ancient and natural idea, because without women to bear children, society would have disappeared, and one man can impregnate 100 women, so women are more valuable than men.”
This pseudo-historical crypto-survivalist reasoning is complete hogwash and easily falsified and rejected. In historical fact, the survival of men outweighed just about everything else. The survival of women were a distant second, and the survival of children hardly mattered at all.
The Historical Reality of Female Infanticide
The most obvious counter to the idea of “women as crucial for tribal survival” is the widespread practice (historical and contemporary) of female infanticide. In low-level survivalist societies, females are seen as less than useless, as an actual hindrance to be minimized.
The reasons why women in traditional societies were not valued are readily apparent: they are basically just “another mouth to feed”. Worse, they reproduce, making even more “mouths to feed”. Females in traditional society were luxuries, not necessities.
What is a man with, say, 3 wives and 6 daughters going to do to survive? Compare his situation with the man with 3 brothers and 6 sons. Whether it came to growing or hunting food, or defending territory from aggressors, the man with brothers and sons is at a vast advantage.
The oft-cited example of the “1 man can impregnate 100 women” provides its own reductio ad absurdum:
So, say in a tribal conflict, one tribe follows the logic of WCF, and they escape a battle with only 1 male warrior, but all 100 females. Even assuming he wants to get busy and impregnate them all (to ensure the continuation of the tribe, of course!!!), some problems immediately come to mind:
--who is going to be hunting to feed those 100 women (not to mention current and forthcoming children)? And,
--who is going to defend all those women and children from fierce predators (both the ones with four feet, and the ones with two)?
The Primacy of Men
It is painfully obvious that in primitive conditions, the most important element in tribal existence is the presence of large numbers of warriors. Heck, the lack of women is hardly a problem, since a tribe with lots of warriors can just go TAKE WOMEN from other tribes.
In fact, this is exactly what we see in history: lots of female infanticide and lots of “bride kidnapping”.
The idea that a man should sacrifice himself for the survival of a female is ABSURD and SELF-CONTRADICTORY, since HIS sacrifice would do little more than ensure HER doom.
WCF Invented in liberal Victorian Britain – to SERVE the STATE
That is why NO ONE IN HISTORY ever practiced WCF. The concept was invented whole-cloth in that incubator of modern liberalism: Victorian England. Literally, the idea first appeared in the 1850s, and was made super-famous by the events of the Titanic in 1912.
It is no accident that this was precisely the period corresponding to the height of the British Empire. The Empire needed mobs of young men to sign themselves up for self-sacrifice. The concept of WCF is just an ancillary of that pro-Empire propaganda. According to the logic of Empire, you are a coward and failure if you are not willing to sacrifice your own life for the women and children of the homeland.
In fact, it is only in the conditions of the modern nation state that the “1 man for every 100 women” possibility becomes true. In a homeland of millions, with a secured food supply, extensive welfare programs, and professional police forces, women and children are in no danger from the lack of a husband/father.
We can thereby understand the true serendipity of the invention of the WCF doctrine in Victorian Britain: as a tool for the Liberal welfare-warfare State/Empire, which requires an ideology that can convince young men to be willing to throw away their lives for some abstract reason. God bless the Italians and whoever else rejects the absurd and destructive concept.
Raj Rajaratnam: #236 on the Forbes 400
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