What Trump said:
“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her,” Trump says. “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
“And when you’re a star, they let you do it,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
“Whatever you want,” says another voice, apparently Bush’s.
“Grab them by the p—y,” Trump says. “You can do anything.”
So now we have a media frenzy, the theme of which is that Trump has shown himself to be a horrible sexist and abuser of women. “Rape culture in a nutshell” as a writer in the Huffington Post would have it.
As usual, it’s a moral indictment. Of course, moral indictments of Trump have been routine ever since he entered the race, often centered on race and immigration. But now the chorus is deafening. So much so that quite a few Republicans (mainly those who never supported him or did so only reluctantly — i.e., the GOP establishment cuckservatives) are now (surprise!) deserting him.
The implicit assumption here is that the women involved are passive, helpless creatures who are being assaulted by the big bad hairy ape. Heaven forfend! Fainting couch feminism at its finest.
What Trump is saying is that, because he is a star, women are entirely open to his advances, and as an evolutionary psychologist, I would have to say I am utterly unsurprised at this. Evolutionary psychology 101.
Trump is nothing if not an alpha male. He is rich and he is a celebrity. His comments happened in Hollywood where the culture of sex, celebrity, money, and power has been entrenched for 100 years. All that talk of the casting couch has a strong basis in reality. And it’s well known that male movie stars have access to a very active sex life if they want it. It would take a lot of will power to pass on a life that pushes the buttons of quite a few of your evolved pleasure centers.
So we have the spectacle of ultra-liberal, Trump-hating Hollywood — the absolute center of the American culture of sex, celebrity, money and power — somehow failing to notice the hypocrisy.
This is not about rape. (That’s Bill Clinton’s thing — with Hillary’s collusion; it goes without saying that rape is evil.) Women are willing participants in this culture of sex and power, and they often have much to gain by indulging males, or at least they may think they do. As Trump said, “when you’re a star, they let you do it.”
The evolutionary psychology of sex is that males often gain by maximizing the number of sexual partners. That’s because the act of sexual intercourse is low-cost for males, while for females in the environment we evolved in, it could be very costly indeed — pregnancy, the danger of childbirth, lactation — and that’s just infancy. As a result we expect females (or those who control them, such as parents) to be very choosy about whom they mate with, whereas males are not expected to be as choosy—unless they plan to be a good father and invest in their children. But a culture of monogamy and good parenting is not what Hollywood is pushing.
But even under conditions of monogamy, males benefit from extra-pair matings in a way that females can’t. And throughout history, males who compete successfully (i.e., achieve social dominance, like Trump) have been able to turn their social success into reproductive success, or, in our society, a very active sex life with willing females. So a major finding in history is that wealthy, powerful males had access to many females. Think Chinese emperors with hundreds of concubines, Muslim sheiks, and African chieftains.
Or Genghis Khan. By achieving unprecedented military success, he and his male descendants were able to establish large harems of women throughout Asia. Based on modern Y-Chromosome data, his lineage has 16 million direct male descendants in the modern world. (But it didn’t happen with European kings — interesting question as to why.)
And the flip side is that women are attracted to successful males. Read any romance novel. Or look at the real world and notice which men are getting the attractive women. Willing attractive women.
But an important strand of modern feminism is to try to turn men into beta males who are willing cucks and wouldn’t think of coming on to a woman in an assertive way. If you’ve been around a university lately, they’re full of them. Sensitive guys who are likely horrified by that brute Trump.
So we have articles like “Trump is the climax of America’s masculinity problem” in the Atlantic, “Donald Trump and the crisis of masculinity” in Counterpunch, and “Donald Trump is a parody of American manhood — and that’s what lifts him” in the LATimes.
The sad thing is so many women have bought into this. It’s pathetic that as America heads into a watershed election, the entire focus of discussion is on how Donald Trump thinks of women.
Grow up. Get in the real world.
Having said all that, let’s talk evolutionary psychology 2.0. The mainstreaming of the Hollywood culture of sex, celebrity, money and power has not been good for the society as a whole. Trump has apologized for his comments, and he is well-advised to do so. Part of his apology could be to say that he got caught up in this culture because of its obvious appeal to his nature as a male, but he rejects it now because of its harm on the wider society. You might say that Trump has taken advantage of all the aspects of corruption available in contemporary America—the tax loopholes for the wealthy, hiring foreign labor in order to be competitive, investing in casinos despite their drawing on the worst human compulsions, contributions to pliable politicians, and doing the celebrity sex thing. And as he said about much of this, he knows the system inside-out and realizes the need to change it.
The fact is that this Hollywood culture has not been good for the society as a whole. Social support for high-investment parenting has always been a critical feature of Western social structure until the sexual revolution of the 1960s. This regime was an aspect of the sexually egalitarian ethic of traditional Western society, deeply intertwined with Christian religious beliefs. Fundamentally, the harder edges of sexual competition were softened; wealthy, powerful males did not have freedom of sexual access that they do today. Until the 1960s, even though the Hollywood culture thrived beneath the surface, there were strong controls on the content of movies in conformity with Christian family values. Since the 1960s, these cultural controls were lifted, and all of the markers of family stability have headed south — including divorce rates and births out of wedlock for all races and ethnic groups. (Nevertheless, there are very large differences between races and ethnic groups in conformity with Rushton’s lifespan theory of race differences.)
But this relative lack of social support for marriage has had very different effects depending on traits like IQ—a theme of The Bell Curve. For example, a well-known study in behavior genetics shows that the heritability of age of first sexual intercourse increased dramatically after the sexual revolution of the 1960s. In other words, after the social supports for traditional sexuality disappeared, genetic influences became more important. Before the sexual revolution, traditional sexual mores applied to everyone. After the revolution, genes mattered more. People with higher IQ were able to produce stable families and marriages, but lower IQ people were less prone to doing so, and these trends have been exacerbated by the current economic climate.
A theme of Chapter 4 of The Culture of Critique is that the psychoanalytic assault on traditional Western sexual culture had a disparate impact on different IQ groups:
Jews suffer to a lesser extent than non-Jews from the erosion of cultural supports for high-investment parenting, and Jews benefit by the decline in religious belief among non-Jews. As [Norman] Podhoretz (1995, 30) notes, it is in fact the case that Jewish intellectuals, Jewish organizations like the AJCongress, and Jewish-dominated organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union … have ridiculed Christian religious beliefs, attempted to undermine the public strength of Christianity, and have led the fight for unrestricted pornography. The evidence of this chapter indicates that psychoanalysis as a Jewish-dominated intellectual movement is a central component of this war on on-Jewish cultural supports for high-investment parenting. …
Although other factors are undoubtedly involved, it is remarkable that the increasing trend toward low-investment parenting in the United States largely coincides with the triumph of the psychoanalytic and radical critiques of American culture represented by the political and cultural success of the counter-cultural movement of the 1960s.
I then go into the academic version of the ideas presented here, especially the greater importance of social controls and traditional religious beliefs for people on the left side of the Bell Curve. (See here, in the Conclusion).
There is nothing wrong with traditional Western sexual codes. The problem is not the traditional culture. Rather it is the economic dispossession of non-elite Whites combined with a media culture that glorifies expressive individualism and uninhibited sexuality (i.e., drugs, sex, and Rock ‘n’ Roll) — a media culture that, in my view, was critically shaped by the Jewish intellectual movements reviewed in The Culture of Critique.
- There was a huge uproar in the 1920s insisting on control over Hollywood because of the content of movies, particularly because of material related to sex and the family. The reaction against this by conservative America did indeed have overtones of anti-Semitism (e.g., in Henry Ford’s The International Jew), but Hollywood did not voluntarily stop what it was doing. Instead, there was the establishment of The Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America, headed by Will H. Hays in 1922 in response to movements in over thirty state legislatures to enact strict censorship laws. Later the Production Code Administration, headed by Joseph I. Breen, was launched in response to a campaign by the Catholic National Legion of Decency.