I mention the matter now because, owing to the egocentricity in our historical outlook, to which I have already referred, it is often supposed that female emancipation is an invention of the modern white man. Sometimes, we imagine that we have arrived at a conception of the status of women in society which is far superior to that of any other age; we feel an inordinate pride because we regard ourselves as the only civilized society which has understood that the sexes must have social, legal, and political equality. Nothing could be farther from the truth.Apart from the last sentence, the above paragraph is a good summary of attitudes held by most Westerners today. Certainly feminists tend to exude the sentiment that we are exceptional for exalting the ideal of equality (while always somehow falling short of true equality, of course, affording them the opportunity to keep whining about perpetual victimhood). It may come as a surprise, then, that the quote is taken from a book published in 1934: J.D. Unwin's Sex and Culture. I finally took the time to peruse it because as old, dense and obscure as it is, this book has attained the status of something like a classic in the manosphere. Unwin's thesis, based on a survey of more than 80 different societies, is that women's emancipation is incompatible with a flourishing civilization and high culture. The anthropological and historical records indicate that the enforcement of monogamy is inversely proportional to what Unwin terms "social energy." Civilizations rise under conditions of absolute monogamy (or at least a considerable amount of restrictions on the pre-nuptial sexual freedom of women), while the inevitable women's liberation and attendant loosening of sexual mores that follow lead to civilizational collapse.
The energy of the most developed civilized societies, or that of any group within them, was exhibited for so long as they preserved their austere regulations. Their energy faded away as soon as a modified monogamy became part of the inherited tradition of the whole society. No group of human beings, however, has ever been able, or at any rate has ever consented, to tolerate a state of absolute monogamy for very long. This is not surprising, for it is an unequal bargain for the women; and in the end they have always been freed from their legal disadvantages. To express the matter in popular language, they have been 'emancipated'. This has happened regularly and unfailingly in every recorded example of absolute monogamy, except one; in that case special circumstances prevailed. The Sumerians, Babylonians, Athenians, Romans, and Teutons began their historical careers in a condition of absolute monogamy; in each case the women were legal nonentities. After a time the laws were altered; a woman became a legal entity, the equal of a man. This happened among the Sumerians before they were dominated by the absolutely monogamous Babylonians; then among the latter just before Babylonia fell under the sway of the uncultivated Kassites. Under the ius gentium the Roman matrons were freed from most of the disadvantages from which they suffered under the old ius civile. Among the Anglo-Saxons the same changes were taking place when after the reign of Cnut the ecclesiastical authorities succeeded in obtaining control of sexual regulations. After the introduction of a pseudo-indissoluble monogamy (which, so far as the position of women and sexual opportunity were concerned, was the same as absolute monogamy) the English instituted the same reforms, which were still incomplete in the twentieth century. Only among the Athenians was the emancipation of native-born women never completed. Yet there seems to have been an emancipating movement in Athens too, but apparently the Periclean decree of 451 B.C. and the laws in regard to the epicleros, never repealed, prevented the native-born women from being freed from their legal disadvantages. In Athenian society the part which was played, in later Sumerian, Babylonian; Roman, Anglo-Saxon, and English society by emancipated women was played by the Outlander women (as Professor Zimmern has called them). Thus the impulses which helped to inaugurate the changes were, operative, and to some extent satisfied, in this case also. (Sex and Culture, pp. 343-44)I won't go into Unwin's theoretical explanation for the relationship between social energy and sexual restraint, because I don't much believe in it. That kind of Freudian theorizing is rather dated, but Unwin can be forgiven for not being conversant with evolutionary psychology. The historical evidence he presents, however, appears solid. The cycle of sexual restraint (or rather sexual egalitarianism, giving men the opportunity to to invest in families and thus society), feminism, decline and eventual displacement by cultures who subjugate their women has been played out time and again throughout history. The present decline of Western civilization is thus entirely expected, and we can probably look forward to being superseded by a more energetic culture. Islam is a good candidate. Not optimal, since they do allow polygamy, but this theory predicts that they will do better than our moribund Western civilization.