For a thousand years before the mid nineteenth century, pretty much everyone agreed that equality between husbands and wives would destroy marriage and fatherhood.

Do you have a citation for that? It would surprise me to learn that such equality was even discussed about a thousand years ago.

The status of women was not a government issue until the nineteenth century, but a private issue for families. In this sense, it was discussed, but not as a political question. Consider, for example the Paxton family quarrel over the right of daughters to choose their own husbands. The Paxtons tended to use their daughters as poker chips in the long struggle over the Falstoff inheritance, and the Bishop of Norwich was drawn into this drama to arbitrate between mother and daughter. While the Bishop correctly upheld the Christian doctrine of marriage by consent, he was arguably disturbed by the potential threat to the institution of marriage.

"The taming of the shrew" also addresses this issue, in this sense. Note that Petruchio has to tame Katherina without giving her the thrashing she so richly deserves, whereas Margaret could and did beat her daughter Margary in an manner alarming and scandalous, even though according to Christian doctrine (that marriage is by consent) Margary was completely in the right, and Margaret completely in the wrong.

The Paxtons tended to use their daughters as poker chips in the long struggle over the Falstoff inheritance, and the Bishop of Norwich was drawn into this drama to arbitrate between mother and daughter. While the Bishop correctly upheld the Christian doctrine of marriage by consent, he was arguably disturbed by the potential threat to the institution of marriage.

I've not been able to find the case you describe. Googling "Paxton" together with "Falstoff" just takes me back to your comment. "Paxton family" doesn't give me any... (read more)

Peter Thiel warns of upcoming (and current) stagnation

by SilasBarta 1 min read4th Oct 2011121 comments

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SIAI benefactor and VC Peter Thiel has an excellent article at National Review about the stagnating progress of science and technology, which he attributes to poorly-grounded political opposition, widespread scientific illiteracy, and overspecialized, insular scientific fields.  He warns that this stagnation will undermine the growth that past policies have relied on.

Noteworthy excerpts (bold added by me):

In relation to concerns expressed here about evaluating scientific field soundness:

When any given field takes half a lifetime of study to master, who can compare and contrast and properly weight the rate of progress in nanotechnology and cryptography and superstring theory and 610 other disciplines? Indeed, how do we even know whether the so-called scientists are not just lawmakers and politicians in disguise, as some conservatives suspect in fields as disparate as climate change, evolutionary biology, and embryonic-stem-cell research, and as I have come to suspect in almost all fields? [!!! -- SB]

Grave indictors:

Looking forward, we see far fewer blockbuster drugs in the pipeline — perhaps because of the intransigence of the FDA, perhaps because of the fecklessness of today’s biological scientists, and perhaps because of the incredible complexity of human biology. In the next three years, the large pharmaceutical companies will lose approximately one-third of their current revenue stream as patents expire, so, in a perverse yet understandable response, they have begun the wholesale liquidation of the research departments that have borne so little fruit in the last decade and a half. [...]

The single most important economic development in recent times has been the broad stagnation of real wages and incomes since 1973, the year when oil prices quadrupled. To a first approximation, the progress in computers and the failure in energy appear to have roughly canceled each other out. Like Alice in the Red Queen’s race, we (and our computers) have been forced to run faster and faster to stay in the same place.

Taken at face value, the economic numbers suggest that the notion of breathtaking and across-the-board progress is far from the mark. If one believes the economic data, then one must reject the optimism of the scientific establishment. Indeed, if one shares the widely held view that the U.S. government may have understated the true rate of inflation — perhaps by ignoring the runaway inflation in government itself, notably in education and health care (where much higher spending has yielded no improvement in the former and only modest improvement in the latter) — then one may be inclined to take gold prices seriously and conclude that real incomes have fared even worse than the official data indicate. [...]

College graduates did better, and high-school graduates did worse. But both became worse off in the years after 2000, especially when one includes the rapidly escalating costs of college.[...]

The current crisis of housing and financial leverage contains many hidden links to broader questions concerning long-term progress in science and technology. On one hand, the lack of easy progress makes leverage more dangerous, because when something goes wrong, macroeconomic growth cannot offer a salve; time will not cure liquidity or solvency problems in a world where little grows or improves with time.

HT: MarginalRevolution

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