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Do women have an underdeveloped sense of justice? Is the adherence to principles primarily the domain of men?
Anecdotal evidence would suggest both the above propositions are true. Certainly, Chateau field marshals have previously turned their awesome powers of observation to the task of illuminating the wide gulf between the sexes in how they understand and apply the notion of fairness. For instance, in this Chateau post from long ago it was noted that women’s sense of justice flows from a refined but wholly self-interested pragmatism.
Women as a whole are more coldly calculating than men, and the worst of them can challenge the top 1% of sociopathic alpha males for deceitfulness and cavalier betrayal. It is the prerogative of women that practical concerns, and how to achieve them, dominate their thinking and catalyze their emotions. They are the ones stuck with nine month pregnancies. Morality was codified by men; amorality perfected by women. And no one is more versed in justifying and rationalizing their own shitty behavior than a woman.
And in this Chateau post, it was boldy stated that women’s morality is geared toward the welfare of the social collective regardless of first principles, and that the beliefs of the most popular in status and numbers often become the beliefs of women who, as is the whim of their historically vulnerable sex, fear exclusion from the group more than anything else, except carrying the seed of a beta male.
[W]omen by nature are followers, and where the pack goes, so go they. Women self-govern by a simple (simplistic) motto: “It’s all in the numbers.” Once a tipping popularity point is reached, women will abandon their old principles for the new principles with a speed that will prove the shallowness and expediency with which they hold their beliefs.
But to date, little science has been done to examine the evidence for the Chateau and common man wisdom that men and women hold different moral values. Until recently.
The scientific literature is accumulating that points to fundamental sex differences in morality.
• Some studies show that women are more empathetic then men, and that this difference increases over child development (for example, there’s a nice study showing this trend in Spain by María Mestre and collaborators).
This is evidence that group cohesion informs women’s morality more than it does men’s morality. If someone is distressed in the group, it will be more empathetic women who tend to that person’s gripes. This is a good thing when the group is the nuclear family; you want a wife and mother who will defend your family, right or wrong. It’s a bad thing when the group — such as the society in which women live — is exploited by bad people who can convincingly project a victim mentality and, thus, hijack women’s empathy compulsions.
• When looking at pictures of immoral acts, women’s judgments of severity correlate with higher levels of activation in emotion centers of the brain, suggesting concern for victims, whereas men show higher activation in areas that might involve the deployment of principles(Carla Harenski and collaborators).
Women are less principled than men. A woman’s sense of fairness and moral disgust can be manipulated by emotional pleas. This is why you often see women defending hardcore killers when they are bombarded with sob stories about those killers’ sad upbringings. The upside is that women’s gravitation to the travails of victims can insulate true victims from egregious applications of principled but misguided retribution.
• When men watch wrongdoers getting punished, there is activation in reward centers of their brains, whereas women’s brains show activation in pain centers, suggesting that they feel empathy for suffering even when it is deserved (Tania Singer and collaborators).
Again, more evidence that women’s morality rests on feelings rather than on abstract devotion to principles. This is why you will often see women (and this includes nuns) sympathizing with death row scum of the earth. Their empathy modules have trouble distinguishing between real victims (the dead at the hands of killers) and sentimental victims (the condemned about to die).
• Women are more likely to factor personal cost into decisions about whether to punish an unfair stranger, which suggests that women are more context-sensitive, and men adhere to principles (Catherine Eckel and Philip Grossman).
Women are unprincipled pragmatists. They must be, because, evolutionarily speaking, they have been the more vulnerable, weaker sex. As evolutionary psychology would predict, women simply can’t afford high-minded adherence to principles the way men can.
• Women were twice as generous in a game that involved dividing $10 with a stranger (Eckel and Grossman, again).
Female generosity with strangers is likely an evolved trait that furthers group cohesion, or prevents the outbreak of intra-, or inter-, group violence. Male selfishness with random strangers likely evolved because men’s mating value rests to a greater degree on their acquisition of resources. (So if women complain about men being selfish, well, they should remember who it is exactly that motivates men to horde their winnings.)
• Numerous studies have found that women are more likely than men to reciprocate acts of kindness (reviewed by Rachel Croson and Uri Gneezy).
Another example of female predilection to see to the collective good in order to strengthen group cohesion.
• Women tend to be more egalitarian then men, and men are more likely to be either completely selfless or selfish (James Andreoni and Lise Vesterlund).
I should hope it’s pretty well known by now that women have been voting for more liberal policies and candidates than men since suffrage. In other words, women will discard principles when voting in favor of the expedience of spreading around harmonious tranquility with other people’s money.
• Women are more likely than men to think it is okay to imprison a person on trumped up charges in order to stop violent rioting in the streets (Fiery Cushman and Liane Young). But women are also less likely to endorse diverting a runaway trolley down an alternate track where it will kill one person instead of five (John Mikhail).
AKA: Where the desire for group cohesion bumps up against overcharged empathy.
• Women are more likely than men to blame a shipwreck survivor for pushing another survivor off a small plank of driftwood in order to survive (Stephen Stich and Wesley Buckwalter).
“Someone, somewhere, is hurting.”
• Women are less likely than men to be politically conservative (Karen Kaufman; Terri Givens), though the reverse pattern was true in the 1950s (Felicia Pratto).
I’m guessing the pattern was the reverse in the 1950s because more women were married and getting their provisions from provider husbands instead of grievance shakedown rackets and sugar daddy government. A married woman with children is a woman whose worst moral instincts are muted. Alternate explanation: political conservatism was of a lot different complexion in the 1950s than it is now.
This range of findings resists an easy summary, but, on the whole, women seem to be more empathetic and more focused on the collective good. This is broadly consistent with Gilligan’s suggestion that women are more likely than men to base moral decisions on a care orientation, whereas men gravitate more towards principles.
Once again, the science confirms horribly evil and politically incorrect Chateau observations. I don’t post these studies because I like to have my balls gently caressed by reams of scientific papers proving the rightness of my worldview. Though that is a nice side effect, my primary purpose in highlighting these scientific explorations is the warm glow I get thinking about the eyeball-popping rage that reading these posts must bring to my haters. Their pain fills me with good cheer!
What the scientific conclusions mischievously suggest is that female care-oriented morality is best suited for small-scale communities like families and neighborhoods, but is not so good when expanded to a national scale (see: mass immigration). Male principle-oriented morality, in contrast, is a much better guard rail for steering a nation along the right path (see: fiscal restraint).