Sexual Autonomy

Our Greek Ancestors Took Sexual Inequality Seriously

Why can't we liberated moderns?


Sex And the City

It sez something that our ancient ancestors could talk about certain sexual matters without getting their knickers in a knot but we sexually liberated moderns can't.

George Mason University's oddball but brilliant economist, Robin Hanson, who wants to freeze his brain and Xerox his body, got into a world of trouble with feminists and liberals for asking, in the wake of the Toronto attack by an incel—a sexually frustrated involuntary celibate man—why those who worry about income inequality don't also worry about sexual inequality. He also mused if there was any way to redistribute sex.

The liberal world went ballistic. The kindest slam was by Slate's Jordan Weissman who called Hanson "America's Creepiest Economist."

Hanson, who is a libertarian, isn't serious about any state-sponsored redistribution schemes, obviously. He was merely puzzling over why "cultural elites" worry about one kind of inequality but not the other. This might sound nuts to us, but the fact of the matter is that Aristophanes, the Greek comic playwright, linked the two questions back in 319 B.C. in his play called Assemblywomen.

In it, women take over the governance of democratic Athens using subterfuge because, after decades of warfare, the men have lost all their drive—so to speak—and are making a hash of things (some things never change :). The women abolish private property and redistribute wealth, using the food horded by the aristocrats to hold lavish public feasts. But they also mandate sexual equality and require every Greek man to sleep with several old and unattractive women for every young and beautiful one.

Aristophanes' play was a comic exploration of the sexual frustrations of women under a flaccid patriarchy—just as Hanson's blog was an (humorless) explication of male frustrations under a protective feminism.

But, I note in my column at The Week, we shouldn't dismiss Hanson. The sexual revolution has created new winners and losers and the plight of the losers deserves to be taken seriously.

Go here to read the piece.