The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, is a scathing indictment of the class system in late 19th-century England. In this novella, the protagonist travels over 800,000 years into the future, to an era in which human evolution has bifurcated. The middle and upper classes have become the passive, beautiful, frail and stupid Eloi, who live above-ground in a peaceful but vapid paradise. Docile and effete, they do not attempt to save one of their own when she is drowning. They watch, unmoved. They never work, and are able to survive only on the labor of the repulsive, violent, and equally dumb Morlocks living underground. Intelligence and curiosity have been bred out of both human races, and neither is able to improve existing technology, though Morlocks maintain it. They do this for one reason: they are farming the Eloi, in order to eat them. Neither human race turns out to be viable for the long term; both die and are replaced, farther off into the future, by giant centipedes and crabs.
Dystopian depictions of future evolution usually reflect the dangers we face on the cultural front now. Genetic dysgenesis takes centuries, but cultural dysgenesis can occur on the scale of years. For example, Idiocracy, a hilarious black comedy about an average man sent into a criminally dysgenic 26th-century America (stupid people have outbred the smart into extinction, rendering an “average Joe” straight-man the smartest person alive) is an attack on contemporary corporate capitalism, and the intellectual complacency it encourages. As with The Time Machine, it’s an indictment of the cultural dysgenesis taking place in its own time.
Back to The Time Machine: does it apply now? While we don’t have the same social class structure as 19th-century England, the dating and marital scene following a culture of female indulgence has created an altogether different Eloi/Morlock phenomenon, falling along gender lines. Until I spell it out explicitly, a bit later, I’ll leave it to the reader to guess which gender is which.
Let me discuss what I mean by female indulgence, having used the term. It’s what less articulate men decry when they attack feminism. I make the distinction because I have absolutely no problem with proper feminism. In fact, some might call me a masculist, and although I wouldn’t use that word to describe myself, I’m as feminist as I am masculist. I’m a hard-line gender egalitarian. I believe women should have the right to vote and receive equal pay in the workplace. I support the complete eviction from the business landscape of the “glass ceiling” that prevents women (and men not born into the right social classes) from advancing. I also believe that, in most of the world– Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan, but also China and India– feminism is desperately needed.
On the other hand, the current family court system is female-indulgent, not feminist. The de facto ability of a woman to describe a regretted sexual encounter under the same word as one of the most disgusting and horrible classes of assault is female-indulgent. The increased social value that young women possess in a hypersexual social environment is female-indulgent. The proliferation of slut-acceptance, following Friends and Sex and the City, is female-indulgent. Female indulgence is not necessarily feminist, stemming at root from the concept of woman as weak and unable to control herself, and it is also focused disproportionately on beautiful, young women of a culture’s dominant ethnicity. In fact, many anti-regressive cultures, such as the Klan-era South, were as female-indulgent as this one (at least for white, wealthy women). For the extreme of anti-feminism in female indulgence, consider that it is often used to humiliate low-status men– you are even lower than a woman– thereby tacitly assuming female inferiority. Donald Trump, for example, described in one of his many execrable books how he would send his wife to “check up” on the appearance of doormen.
Female indulgence, unlike moderate feminism, depicts men as an ugly and criminal sex– violent, uncouth, and dangerous. The man sitting next to you is a potential rapist. It hates men for being men. If a man raises his voice with a woman, he’s “abusive”. If he has a high sex drive, he’s a “pervert”. If he hasn’t had a lot of experience with women, and his inexperience shows, he’s “creepy”. If a man is too assertive for a woman’s tastes and “comes on too strong”, he’s to be beaten up or slandered. Moreover, this indulgence takes female misbehaviors and asserts them as rights, and often virtues. If she wants to sleep with a new man every week, “that’s her right” as a woman. If she wants to stop returning a man’s calls, “that’s her right”. If she wants to make cracks about her ex-boyfriend’s penis around mutual friends, “that’s her right.” (A man who shared such details about an ex-girlfriend’s vagina would be, rightly, detested.) Among many, these misbehaviors are seen as not only within a woman’s rights, but stylish and empowering. You go, girl!
It’s obvious what the result of this should be; it would be foolish to expect anything else. Many of the women (those who possess a strong will and independence of mind– but they are uncommon– are an exception to this) have turned into Eloi, protected and psychologically fragile creatures valued for their beauty and docility. They become arrogant, conniving, and vacuous. They discover social value not in becoming intelligent, interesting, curious, productive or charming people, but in exploiting female privilege to the highest possible degree. They are discouraged from developing as humans, and instead grow into dolls– solipsistic, perpetually adolescent creatures incapable of behaving themselves or taking responsibility for their actions. They are stripped of their curiosity and rendered morally incompetent.
The men– viewed as dangerous, disfigured, and undesirable– revert into Morlocks. Many resist this mutation in childhood and adolescence. Although modern television portrays men as inept, emotionally retarded, sports-obsessed and selfish buffoons, most boys approach this negative depiction as a challenge. I’m going to be different, I’m going to be better. These are the young men who envision themselves being devoted husbands, great fathers, excellent friends to men and women alike, and most of all, interesting and well-rounded people. What do they grow into? The nice guys.
Nice guys are quite opposite from Morlocks; but in college, these men enter a culture that prejudgest them to be the latter. Potential rapists. “Sketchy.” “Creepy.” Disgusting and dangerous, in other words. Men face this subtle prejudice even without doing anything wrong, and as soon as one does something that might be perceived as possibly wrong, all hell breaks loose. Eventually, the “nice guy” dies, realizing there’s no benefit in being a “nice” man. Evil is more fun, and better rewarded.
Men who find loving relationships, very young and with great women, are an exception to this, but most men will spend substantial time on the dating and sexual marketplace. They’ll inevitably develop negative attitudes about women. Those who are “successful” on the meet market begin to objectify women, noting that most women on this scene are people of low value, and extrapolating the negative characteristics they observe to the gender as a whole, concluding that women are interchangeable and mostly useless. Those who are unsuccessful on this market start hating women, their low social position made even worse by a culture of female indulgence. Both classes of men become meaner and more bitter as the years pass. Moreover, negative male behaviors are encouraged by the immature tastes of available women, a sickening fact that never seems to end. (Warning to the young: after a certain age, the average maturity of available women stops advancing, due to the better women being taken off the market. It goes down.) All of these factors impel men to behave badly, and to turn into worse people for every year they spend in this horrible system.
There is obviously no danger of the gendered Eloi/Morlock phenomenon leading to a genetic separation, so long as reproduction requires one male and one female. On the cultural front, we already see this. In our supposedly egaliatarian society, male and female experiences are diverging, rather than becoming more similar over time. Men and women have vastly different social experiences and concerns, and although some of this is natural, much of it follows from a culture of female indulgence. Women, for example, do not have to worry about labels like “sketchy”, nor are they expected to acquire sexual experience in order to be taken seriously by the opposite sex. Men possess a less privileged position on the whole, but for one notable difference, which is that they are both expected and allowed (if they are successful) to be assertive with the opposite sex. This means that a man who is both desirable and somewhat lucky can benefit from the situation as it stands.
For this reason, men and women are finding it increasingly difficult to relate to each other. Following a culture of female indulgence– which, I comment, has many female opponents in addition to men– most men and many women are finding modern women to be too disloyal and selfish to be friends. Women are growing more spoiled and selfish, and men are becoming increasingly resentful. Most American men have resigned themselves to the lack of “marriage material” within the United States. Until the culture of female indulgence is dismantled, these social problems will not abate.