Friday, 19 January 2018

Sam Harris, Identity Politics and Valid Argument

A white female commentator on Sam Harris's statements regarding identity politics had this to say:
I get very annoyed with Sam Harris whenever he speaks negatively about “identity politics.” Please understand that the suppression of what is thought of as “identity politics” is used to maintain the status quo of white supremacy and patriarchy. It mainly suits white men in power, and only works to silence and dismiss women and minorities further. 
Here is an example of what I’m talking about: In order to understand the serious problems of systemic racism and abuse within police departments, you have to listen to and validate the experiences of black people. You cannot simply value the data that is written down and reported, considering that it’s written down and reported by the police themselves, so it’s always biased in their favor. You should never simply assume that they are reporting every interaction objectively and honestly. If you assume that they are, you are incredibly naive. 
Additionally, think about everything that is never actually reported. Many black individuals describe a lifetime of being targeted and harassed by police officers, from the time they were young children. They often describe the disrespectful, rude manner in which many cops have spoken to them. There is no data that would describe this. But just imagine how a lifetime of being harassed and mistreated by rude cops might affect you and your reaction to the police. It would make sense to be a little angry and defensive with them, if you’re fed up with being harassed and mistreated. It also helps to paint a picture of the problem of systemic racism. 
The same can be applied to women as victims of sexual assault, rape, and sexual harassment. There is so much that we never report. The numbers don’t tell you the whole story. It’s far more common for women to be victimized by men than one might think.
When Sam Harris says in this video that speaking about your experiences related to your identity is “not the sign of clear thinking,” he is gaslighting minorities and women. He is making a judgment about their rationality and is implying that they’re somehow crazy and less rational than him. But this is easy for him, a white man, to say. He is speaking from a place of privilege. 
This is an example of white supremacy and patriarchy in action. Sam is not a bad person. He doesn’t realize he’s perpetuating white supremacy and patriarchy. But he absolutely is. He is in the dominant majority, so his experiences are in line with those of the people who overwhelmingly have power, write our laws, and make the rules throughout our society. 
Here is more gaslighting from Sam, painting women and minorities as crazy and irrational: 
“If you’re reasoning honestly about facts, then the color of your skin is irrelevant” —(Easy for a white person to say!) 
“Not being emotionally engaged usually improves a persons ability to reason about the facts.” — (But of course you’d be “emotionally engaged,” if you’re speaking of how you’ve been abused and victimized. That shouldn’t make your experiences any less valuable! He is dismissive because he doesn’t have to be emotionally engaged. He comes from a place of privilege, so he doesn’t feel the same emotions about these topics. He hasn’t experienced the abuse, discrimination, marginalization, etc firsthand.) 
“The color of your skin simply isn’t relevant information. Your life experience isn’t relevant information. And the fact that you think it might be is a problem.” — (This is a very privileged, white supremacist, heteronormative, cisnormative thing to say.)
Sam's views on identity politics that are being discussed here are outlined in the below video

I think what Harris is trying to say here comes down to this: Either there is or there is not systemic discrimination against minorities in America. Whether that's true or not does not depend on whether the person making the claim is white or black. Above, a white female commentator, is making the claim that there is systemic discrimination against minorities in America. This is a claim regarding the status of minorities in America. Is that claim rendered false by the fact that the commenter is white?

The answer is obviously no, and that's what Sam Harris is really saying here.

The irony of a white woman invoking identity in this manner to defend identity politics should not be lost on us. Were she to discount the claims made by Black Lives Matter activists regarding police treatment of minorities, her own logic allows for the invalidation of her claims on the basis of her race. So why wouldn't this be the case since she's agreeing with them? Ditto for male feminists who discount male critics of feminism on the basis of they're being male? Funny how identity only seems to matter when it's a defense of a feminist or critical race theory from criticism, but becomes suddenly irrelevant when those theories are being defended. This is precisely the kind of rhetorical slight of hand that has led Sam Harris and many others, myself included, to distrust identity politics.

That is a very different thing from saying that the voices of minorities should not be considered when determining whether such discrimination is occuring or not. I don't think that's what Harris is claiming. He does admit in this clip that there are times when a person's identity and experience can be useful in determining whether a claim pertinent to that identity is true or not, as his example of Catholic theology exemplifies.  To fail to take into consideration what feminist or BLM activists have to say regarding the status of their groups would ultimately be guilty of the same kind of fallacy as these activists themselves would be when they shoot down their opponents for being white males. It assumes a-priori that the arguer has a vested interest in their claim and uses this to discount the claim. While either or both sides may indeed have a vested interest, and that should be noted, that does not make the claims made true or false in and of themselves. 

Blacks either are or are not subject to a greater degree of police harassment than white people are. Women either are or are not subject to a greater degree of street harassment and workplace sexual harassment than males are. The truth of those claims does not depend on the identity of the person making the claim, though actually listening to the testimonials of blacks and women is essential to establishing those truths.

As such, I think we certainly should listen to what women, minorities and so forth are saying about the realities of being what they are in America at present. We should be mindful, however, that the dean of women's studies or black studies at Harvard may not be the best exemplars of the typical woman's or black person's experience. Quite often, the loudest purveyors of feminist and/or critical race theory are light years away from the typical experience of their respective demographics and do have an ongoing vested interest in the claims that they make being accepted entirely at face value by the broader society. I worry that a self appointed vanguard of quasi intellectual activists are going to exploit popular movements in order to seize institutional power (as we see in academia, in Silicon Valley, in a lot of media outlets, Hollywood, Disney and so on) and then use those positions of power to impose their will on the broader population and the postmodern academic ideologies they fabricate within the very privileged and cushioned walls of the ivory tower as legitimizing rationalizations for their own very real power and privilege. That's been happening a lot and is a major driver in the online backlash against social justice warriors. 

So we should be mindful of issues like that. The voices of women and minorities who do not uphold the oppression narratives cannot simply be dismissed. When concepts like false consciousness or internalized racism and/or misogyny get raised, that should raise red flags for critical readers and listeners. What's worse than actually arguing from identity consistently is cherry picking arguments from identity, and assuming them to be valid if and only if they conform to preexisting ideological narratives. This is quite obviously intellectually (and ultimately morally) dishonest.

But we should, if we want to reason honestly about the status of minorities in America, actually listen to what minorities are actually saying life is like for them and considering that when making the evaluation. Not all will say it's tougher being black - blacks have no way to know what it's like to be white so if identity is to be the basis of our arguments, it merely puts them back at square one for this reason. But many more blacks than whites, on a per-capita basis, will describe harsher treatment at the hands of police, I would suspect. I do think women and minorities face issues that white males do not, or face to a far lesser degree, and I do worry about the tendency to handwave their claims as mere SJW pearl clutching, and that tendency has grown online in the last few years. What's crucial to understand, though, is that their claims are true if and only if their claims are, in fact, true. Not merely because they belong to minority demographics. The distinction is subtle yet crucial.

Additional Commentary from the Alternative Left
Identity Politics: Pro Social Justice, Anti SJW
Socrates Talks Class and Identity
Why You Should Not be an Intersectional Feminist

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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Sexual Harassment Hysteria: It Isn't New

I think it would surprise people following the controversy surrounding the outing of Aziz Ansani's bad date with "Grace" just how old this story and the controversy surrounding allegations of sexual misconduct really are.  Clarence Thomas anyone?  Just a little reminder, from October of 1991, that this is not a new issue:

It goes back farther than that. In its present form, not surprisingly, to the radical feminism of the mid 1970s. The notorious Catherine MacKinnon - she of "politically, I call it rape whenever a woman has sex and feels violated" legendry, made the case that sexual harassment constituted a form of sex discrimination, which was banned under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. MacKinnon's line of thought was adopted by the Equal Employment Opportunities Commision in 1980, and upheld by the 1986 Supreme Court ruling in Meritor Savings Bank vs. Vinson, ruling that sexual harassment was indeed a form of sexual discrimination.  Educational institutions were covered under title IX of the educations amendment, adopted in 1972 and rather infamously amended by the Obama administration in 2011, lowering the standard of proof applicable to on-campus harassment allegations from "clear and convincing" evidence to a "preponderance of evidence", a considerably lower bar. These amendments have been recently revoked by Trump administration education secretary Betsy DeVos, out of fears that due process for the accused had been largely circumvented by the Obama era changes. The backlash has been, to put it mildly, notable, despite many successful lawsuits by expelled male students alleging violation of their own civil liberties.

Twenty years ago, I was reading a number of books that were trying to raise the alarm over what they considered to be a puritanical and Victorian sexual culture being promoted by feminist theorists in academia. These include:

The foundations for the MeToo movement, what we've seen of feminism on tumblr and twitter and the changes to title IX that occurred during the Obama administration  - these foundations were already largely set both ideologically and in the legal system by the late 1980s. The feminist date-rape narrative was even then well established, and something you'd have heard had you gone to college. The problem is that you had to pretty much major in women's studies, or be of the feminist old guard from the 1970s to be exposed to much of the underlying theory beyond just a public service announcement level of analysis. Activists such as Mary Daly, Andrea Dworkin and the aforementioned Catherine MacKinnon were even then quite controversial for views that now seem to be treated as if they came out of nowhere on social media circa 2013 or so. 

The works of Christina Hoff Sommers and Daphne Patai especially stand out in my mind. C.H Sommers, because Who Stole Feminism quite clearly outlined the influence feminist theorists had acquired in Academia and how their ideology rationalized acquiring that influence and spreading it into other areas of human endeavor - law, media, and so on.  Daphne Patai outlines in Heterophobia the precise contours of feminist theory's take on male heterosexuality, why a guilty even if proven innocent lynch mob mentality towards the accused is justified and how, at bottom, a core premise of what would become third wave intersectional feminism was to delegitimize heterosexuality itself. Details emerge in these works over harassment allegations made due to unwanted compliments and gazes that lasted just a little too long.

Make no mistake, many of the allegations of sexuall harassment to have emerged over the years, including that of Harvey Weinstein and the MeToo movement are harrowing. Feminist theory notwithstanding, there's no shortage of male behavior that runs the gamut from cringeworthy to abusive to downright criminal, and even Aziz Ansari's conduct strikes me as deeply problematic, to borrow a term from the twitter crowd. The need for legal protection against sexual harassment is very real. 

As I've said elsewhere on Facebook:

The dunderheaded twitter mob accuses #MeToo skeptics of trying to "silence women's voices" or something such. This is not true. Women who have been sexually harassed at work absolutely must come forward and file complaints. As an advocate of worker's rights, I believe that the workplace should be harassment free. 
As an advocate of worker's rights, I also believe that workers that are accused of misconduct on the job are also entitled to a fair hearing. Those of us who clamor for due process in the face of sexual misconduct allegations do not do so because we think women are all scheming liars vis-a-vis men. A handful are, the majority are not. Rather, due process is what protects the integrity of the anti-sexual harassment movement. It stops allegations of sexual harassment from being weaponized and abused. Without due process, what stops someone from fabricating an allegation to take out a competitor, or to take out someone whose job they want, or in retaliation for some real or perceived personal slight or another? Historically, during witch hunts and inquisitions of all kinds, accusations were abused in this manner all the time. What will stop it happening now? 
The more sociopathic among the SJWs - and they're out there, since the abusers of power are drawn to communities without formal structures of procedure or authority - have no problems with women fabricating false allegations of rape or sexual harassment against men. Men deserve it, after all, because privilege and patriarchy. The ends justify the means. An eye for an eye. While I'm fairly sure most women reject this kind of barbaric thinking, some don't and I'd expect those who don't to be drawn to the forefront of the women's movement. Let's not enable them. Let's not respond to past injustice with injustice now. It is future generations of women, as well as men today who are not responsible for the sins of the past, who will pay the price for this. Is that how the advocates of women's rights want history to remember their cause's moment?

The fact is that given its origins in postmodern feminist theory and the rejection of liberal notions such as private/public distinction, the importance of due process, free speech and sexual freedom that these origins imply, the preference for college kangaroo courts and trial-by-social media that we see employed by feminist activists to decide sexual harassment allegations shouldn't come as a surprise. The potential for abuse is only now being recognized, and steadfastly resisted and denied by even vaguely "liberal", let alone far left social media mobs.

Warning people online of the dangers posed by postmodern feminist theory was, suffice it to say, a thankless task during the Bush years when the public fears were, not illegitimately, of the erosion of civil liberties at the hands of a militarized neocon establishment, the religious right, and an increasingly radicalized "conservative" movement that was less and less interested in listening to reason than it was in conspiracy theories. Yet it was concerning even then to witness the Obama coalition coalesce around the self flattering narrative that as liberals, they were by definition for fairness and nondiscrimination, and it was therefore inconceivable and a mark of ignorance and bigotry that concerns should be raised about a culture of repression coming from the left.  The issue likewise flew under the radar of a conservative movement much more concerned with dismantling government protections for the poor and working classes and eroding civil liberties in the name of fighting terrorism. Sad that the monster was not dealt with when it was still relatively small.

It was awfully late in the day by the time the skeptic community responded to atheism plus and gamergate as the earliest attempts at an organized pushback against feminist theory's influence. As we've since seen, "social justice" ideology is now deeply embedded in the culture of Silicon Valley. Later still in the day since concerns raised over the excesses of the MeToo hashtag have begun to emerge in sources ranging from Spiked to the New York Times and even with the venerable feminist author Margaret Atwood, whose dystopian vision of a totalitarian theocracy oppressing women in the name of saving them was even upon its 1985 publication trying to warn us.  Suffice it to say, the backlash against all of these outlets for calling the sanctimony of feminism into question has been fierce.

Feminist theory's forty year hegemony in the realm of sexual politics is now paying very real dividends for feminist activists: Millennials are far less sexually active, far less inclined to form heterosexual relationships or marry, and are more likely to consider even invitations to coffee dates and male compliments on a woman's appearance as being harassment, regardless of context.  Heterosexual romance and eroticism have considerably faded from popular culture. Absurd and untenable notions of "enthusiastic" consent for every kiss, touch or caress between adult men and women have widespread support among the general public and are even law of the land in some places. It is not thought unreasonable by many that men should just 'know' in advance when a sexual advance is wanted and when it's not and therefore abusive and criminal.  Many women respond with knee jerk anger at the very notion of a male finding them physically attractive and complimenting them on it. While they deny holding this view, feminists have been largely successful in equating sexual attraction with sexual objectification in the minds of a considerable portion of the population. And due to a well cultivated siege mentality, they are no more amenable to reasoned argument than the religious right or the Tea Party were.

We've seen online and on college campuses what those who would argue for due process and the retention of the gains of the sexual revolution are up against: an entire generational cohort convinced that any deviation from intersectional social justice, including the centuries old liberal democratic tradition are little more than apologetics for power, privilege and patriarchy.  Decades of inactivity, complacency and appeasement across the political spectrum in the face of even the most wretched extremes of feminist theory come at a heavy price: equivalent decades of effort required to push popular attitudes and public policy back to a more even handed stance on the delicate balance between sexual freedom and protection from harassment, not to mention a more effective antidote to the very real scourge of sexual harassment than the proliferation of feminist theory.  But it is decades of effort that we have no choice but to invest.

Additional commentary from The Alternative Left:

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Monday, 25 December 2017

Feminist men: The Latest Failure of Guilt Based Morality

Sargon of Akkad has released a half hour long indictment of that most ill placed of all creatures, the male feminist. The poor bloody male feminist, his reputation far from secure even before the fall of Harvey Weinstein and countless other outspoken progressive men in Hollywood, the media and even the United States Senate. If there's one thing outspoken feminist women and conservative men seem to agree on, it's the creepy, predatory and dishonest nature of the typical male feminist. He really can't win.  View Sargon's video here:

Is it really fair to tar the male feminist in these kinds of terms? Are they all fated to be outed as creepy, grabby perverts? Perhaps not. And the female feminist does not escape unscathed either. If ever there was a woman who I'd suspect would have no problem, none whatsoever with male leering and so on - provided it were the right man doing it of course, it would be the outspoken feminist. Gloria Steinem apparently rather liked being swept off her feet by strong men. Jessica Valenti once lamented "living in a society that made her regret not getting sexual attention from men," or something such. Even Andrea Dworkin was married to a man. 

And can you blame them? As Jimmy Dore - one of the few Young Turks I can actually stand, recently put it: women who enjoy sexual attention from men are not sluts, and men who enjoy giving women sexual attention are not predators. Provided of course, it's mutually desired. Now go back and reread that sentence. Reread it again. And again. Let Dore's words sink in. They will be needed in the post #MeToo era. 

I think the more pertinent question here is not whether feminist men have failed feminism, but rather does feminism ultimately fail as a moral doctrine?  I believe the answer to be the later. Not only does feminism present an untenable standard of sexual conduct for men and women alike, feminism also unwittingly contributes to the very problems it seeks to solve. It does this by inducing the kinds of cycles of temptation, guilt, and inevitable fall that is the downfall of every breed of puritanical morality.  Male feminism is indeed the truest embodiment of the virgin/whore complex you're likely to find in this day and age.

We'll start by looking at the great work of Eric Hoffer, The True Believer: Thoughts on the Nature of Mass Movements, wherein he examines the connection between untenable belief, guilt and the kind of fanatical zeal we see more and more of in feminists, including fallen male feminists:
Whence comes the impulse to proselytize? 
Intensity of conviction is not the main factor which impels a movement to spread its faith to the four corners of the earth: "religions of great intensity often confine themselves to contemning, destroying or at best pitying what is not themselves." Nor is the impulse to proselytize an expression of an overabundance of power as Bacon has it "is like a great flood that is sure to overflow." The missionary zeal seems rather an expression of some deep misgiving, some pressing feeling of insufficiency at the center. Proselytizing is more a passionate search for something not yet found than a desire to bestow upon the world something we already have. It is a search for a final and irrefutable demonstration that our absolute truth is indeed the one and only truth.
The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse. It is doubtful whether a movement which does not profess some preposterous and patently irrational dogma can be possessed of that zealous drive which "must either win men or destroy the world." It is also plausible that those movements with the greatest inner contradiction between profession and practice - that is to say with strong feelings of guilt - are likely to be the most fervent in imposing their faith on others. The more unworkable communism proves in Russia, the more its leaders are compelled to compromise and adulterated its original creed, the more brazen and arrogant will be their attack on the non-believing world.
What it's saying, and what I think Sargon is getting at, is that feminism is an untenable doctrine and trying to live up to it with forthrightness is a fool's errand. The outspoken male feminist did not try and fail to live up to a reasonable doctrine. Rather, he never ever succeeded in living up to a preposterous doctrine, and compensated for his guilt by shouting feminism from the rooftops nearly every chance he got, until his deeper failings were finally outed and his hypocrisy exposed. The male feminist is the sick symptom of a much deeper, much deeper sickness that is feminist theory itself. The failures of both are intertwined with and dependent on each other.

ALNS, one of my co-moderators on Alternative Left's Facebook page, suggested that it is a no-win scenario. Indeed, it is very much a Kobayashi Maru - a no win scenario specifically designed as such. A no win scenario in which all too many Captain Kirks have thought they could cheat their way out of over the years.

A very different kind of philosopher, Ayn Rand, in one of her rare moments of clarity, attacks the Catholic stances on original sin and family planning in a similar kind of conceptual term in her essay Of Living Death:
But you say the encyclical ideal will not work?  It was not intended to work. It is intended to induce guilt. It is not intended to be accepted and practiced. It is intended to be accepted and broken, broken by man's "selfish" desire to love, which will thus be turned into a shameful weakness. Men who accept as an ideal an irrational goal they cannot achieve never lift their heads thereafter, and never discover that their bowed heads were the only goal to ever be achieved.
Rand's paragraph there describes feminism's true intent towards the male of the species with absolute perfection. The outspoken male feminist seeks to quell an internal guilt, a guilt that feminist theory itself induces and nurtures. A guilt over being male, especially being a cisgendered heterosexual male. Over the visual and sensory nature of his sexuality in particular. Any expression of sexual agency on his part will be put up to "power", "entitlement" , "male gaze" , "objectification" , "sexualization" or any other misused, bandied about feminist buzzword, and a single slip up and the feminist sympathizing male will be outed as yet another typical male who will not part with his "privilege" at the end of the day.

You'd think we'd have learned our lesson with the failure of puritanism and the sundry sex abuse scandals that have plagued the churches over the years. Comparisons between the the fall of male feminists today and the "family values" conservative with latent homosexual tendencies are thus more appropriate than they even appeared at first glance. They fail for the same reasons. Basing your moral system around guilt and emphasis of your own flaws cannot help but fail. Men with, shall we say, unusual sexual proclivities sometimes seek redemption, the spiritual discipline needed to repress the urges or at least easy opportunities to purchase indulgence and forgiveness via joining a morally pure church.  Perhaps the Catholic Church, perhaps a fundamentalist protestant sect, or perhaps the progressive left, feminist activism especially.  Regardless, it will fail where even relative amorality has at least a chance at success.

The correct response, then, would be to reject the present incarnation of feminist theory's inherent misandry and heterophobia out of hand, no explanations, no compromise. Full stop.

Stop equating sexual attraction with sexual objectification because they're not the same damn things. Objectification is not merely a sexual response to someone else's sexual characteristics. It requires an accompanying belief that women (or men) are valued primarily or exclusively for their sexual characteristics and are viewed with disdain otherwise, typically in situations in which evaluation based on sexual characteristics would be a truly inappropriate means of evaluating someone. Objectification and attraction are conceptually conflated almost constantly, especially in the era of social justice on social media. This conflation is dangerous, and must be challenged at every turn.

The outcome of a more reasonable sexual ethic is no unearned guilt, and thus no psychological toxicity to erode at the male's sense of self, which is the reserve of psychological will that he needs to truly conduct himself with honor and integrity in his dealings with women, as with any other kind of person. Because he does not believe his sexual urges degrade or objectify women, he does not use his sexual urges to, well, degrade and objectify women. People always act out their innermost convictions. That's what's really, truly dangerous about men internalizing feminist theory. If they believe themselves to be oppressors, objectifiers and harassers ipso-facto simply for being male, that's what they'll end up becoming and how they'll behave. Sargon's video is loaded with evidence to this point.

If it is respect for women and their equality with men that you truly have and wish to promote, the best way to start is by abandoning this postmodern take on chivalry and putting women up on pedestals that now calls itself feminism. 

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Monday, 18 December 2017

Right Wing Students: A School Counselor's Rant

A co-moderator on the Alternative Left Facebook page posted this screencap to the page on Dec. 18, 2017. It originally came from Sargon of Akkad's Facebook page, to the best of my knowledge. It speaks directly to the follies of the regressive SJW left and the regressive NRx right alike, and why the alt-left is needed now and will be needed down the road.  The screencap reads as follows:
I work as a counselor at a school where there's a lot of 4chan-esque right wing boys who are coming up. The previous generation a year or two ago wasn't too bad, but this generation coming up now is much more right wing. 
My question is: how the f**k do I deal with this sh!t?  How am I supposed to honestly give counsel to a kid with a pepe shirt on? How do I talk to these kids who literally come to me and rant about affirmative action? 2 years ago these types barely even existed and now they're everywhere, not only men but women too.  They literally cannot control their right wing beliefs, they talk about it constantly, everywhere. They can't have a discussion about f**king math without bringing up how women hate math and science and that is why they are unsuccessful. They can't talk about english classes without talking about how colleges are wiping away white authors because of cultural Marxism. A kid came to me and ranted that his history classes 'blamed white people too much' for tragedies in the past and that it made him feel uncomfortable. 
I know my job is that people can come to me with whatever possible problems they want, no matter how controversial. But this is getting f**king out of hand. How do I do this?
Poor bloody guidance counselor. I'll bet she just. can't. even. She might even be literally shaking right now.  

Perhaps we of the alt-left can help. It's what we do, right? The real alt-left, that is, not Sean Hannity or Donald Trump's version of the alt left. Let's get that out of the way right now. Just to recap, the alt-left:

  • Is center left to left wing on economic issues. We're mainly social democrats with some democratic socialists and a smattering of anarchists and classical Marxists. New deal era welfare liberalism is good.  Neoliberalism is not good.  Libertarian capitalism is right out, and so is Stalinism or any variant thereof.
  • We're civil libertarians. We like due process and free speech. We don't think government belongs in the bedrooms of the nation. It's not that we like Nazis, sexual harassment or similar kinds of bad behavior. It's that we fear what happens when mob mentality and moral panic get out of hand. Moderate conservatives get conflated with Nazis, idle flirtation gets conflated with sexual harassment and bad things generally happen. So there has to be due process and free and open debate on an ongoing basis. 
  • We're strict egalitarians across racial and gender lines. We're against misogyny and misandry. We think it's okay to be white, and we think black lives matter. We deeply distrust identity politics and postmodernism.

So, with that out of the way ... Oh boy. I sure hate to say I told you so, because anybody with a shred of intelligence could have seen this coming from a long, long way off. While the kids the counselor are describing sound obnoxious, it's important to emphasize that absolutely everything they're doing they were taught by the counselor in question, or people very much like her. Doubtless the situation described by the counselor comes as a surprise to none of us.

How? Let me go through this. Point by point.

"There's a lot of 4chan-esque right wing boys who are coming up." Okay. Now, were you a counselor in this school four or so years ago (we'll assume it's four, for the sake of this discussion), when there were a lot of tumblr-esque left wing girls who were coming up? It would help if you were, because that would make it infinitely easier to get my overall point across. Easier, but not necessary. I'll skip a bit of the post and continue:

"How do I talk to these kids who literally come up to me and rant about affirmative action?" I don't know. How did you talk to the kids four years ago when they literally came up to you and ranted about the wage gap?

"2 years ago these types barely even existed and now they are everywhere, not only men but women too." Funny. I remember thinking the exact same thing 4 years ago, when I was first hearing about atheism+. The term "SJW" was a year or two away from becoming mainstream yet, but damn it if there weren't suddenly a lot of them, bashing white males left, right and center. Not only women but men too. Again, the politically correct types had been around a long while, but quite suddenly in the early 2010s, they were cranking it up to a whole new level. I remember it like it was yesterday. Once you reach your 40s, you'll notice how quickly time flies.

"They literally cannot control their right wing beliefs, they talk about it constantly, everywhere." You can't be serious? That's not good. I mean, after four years (far longer actually, but for the sake of continuity) of kids being unable to control their "left wing" beliefs, we now have to put up with a right wing version of the same kind of nonsense? Can't say I'm happy about that. Can't say I'm surprised either. Where do you think they might have learned to be so obsessive politically?

"They can't have a discussion about f**king math without bringing up how women hate math and science and that is why they are unsuccessful." Funny, up until now I've been hearing about how math and science are male dominated or even patriarchal constructs, and that's why women are unsuccessful. This is sure a change of pace. Not much of an improvement, though.

"They can't talk about english classes without talking about colleges are wiping away white authors because of cultural Marxism." Wanna know something? Kids learn far more by example than they do from direct instruction. As a guidance counselor, I'd have hoped you'd know this. After decades now of kids being unable to talk about english classes without talking about how white authors reinforce patriarchy and institutional racism, I'd say this new crop of right wing kids have learned from the last few decades of example quite well, and they're simply inverting the narrative to work for rather than against them. It was really quite predictable, when you stop and think about it. While a more nuanced understanding of the influence of identity and postmodernism on campus politics would be nice, there sadly were far fewer examples of this. Far easier to simply demonize white masculinity and be done with it.

"A kid came to me and ranted that his history classes 'blamed white people too much' for tragedies in the past and that it made him feel uncomfortable." Again, they learn by example. If blacks and women could go up to guidance counselors and actually blame white people for the tragedies of the past and that it made them uncomfortable, then should it surprise us that white students would eventually turn this on its head and otherwise do the same thing?

"I know my job is that people can come to me with whatever possible problems they want, no matter how controversial. But this is getting f**king out of hand. How do I do this?"
Let's get to the point, shall we?

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

It's really that simple. My only question to our guidance counselor is: what the f**k did you think was going to happen? Are you honestly so naive and stupid as to believe that the white males you demonized for a lot longer than 4 years now would be content to simply hang their heads in shamed obedience and let the postmodern critical theory establishment horde the deconstructionist and identity politics goodies all to themselves? Or did it ever occur to you that the neoreactionaries just might one day do what the feminist theorists, the critical race theorists, the queer theorists, etc. themselves did back in the 1980s? Namely, call BULLSH!T on the establishment and demand their own place at the table? Since neoreaction is merely a mirror-image version of what race, feminist and queer theories are themselves, the only thing I'm surprised at here is that this took as long as it did.

How do you handle this? You don't. Leave that to us.

And how should the alt-left handle neoreaction? The same way we handle what's been passing for social justice. Keep hammering away at the fact that identity politics and postmodernism are dead end streets. All the things we despised about the SJWs will not go away once the NRx crowd starts doing the same things. Lack of transparency and accountability in government and lack of opportunity in the economy will continue to drive the kind of unreasoning identitarianism and misplaced zealotry that characterize regressivism of both the left and right.

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Saturday, 9 December 2017

Yes, All Men

According to Karen Straughan, Feminism was Never Not Rotten:
They sought, and received, the automatic right of mothers to custody of children after divorce, but did nothing to change the financial obligation of fathers to provide all material necessities to said children. 
They sought, and received, the right within marriage to hold and keep their own property and income untouchable by their husbands, but did nothing to change the legal obligation of husbands to financially support their wives, to pay their wives taxes, or to repay their wives debts.
They sought, and received, the right to vote, but did nothing to change the civic obligations of men toward the state, including military conscription, which had informed the primary justifications for universal male suffrage, nor did they campaign to impose any such obligations on women. 
While men were dying in their thousands to win the right to form a union and earn enough to support their wives and children, early feminists were campaigning for a woman’s right to take a man’s children away from him through separation or divorce, and still enjoy the same access to his wallet she’d become accustomed to in marriage. 
While men were dying in their millions to protect societies in which most men didn’t have the vote, early feminists were terrorizing and injuring innocent civilians, demanding votes for women.

I believe nothing to be above criticism, and there are few cows more sacred in protestant Christendom these days than feminism of any wave.   But I can't help but feel that Ms. Straughan might be being just a wee bit harsh here.  One can't blame feminists for agitating for women's right to vote, own property or have custody of children over whom they are the primary caregivers, after all.

Feminists knew what their interests were and were prepared to fight for them.  They haven't changed. Claire Berlinski, in a recent opinion piece in the American Interest, writes of the recent wave of sexual harassment allegations:
Women, I’m begging you: Think this through. We are fostering a climate in which men legitimately fear us, where their entire professional and personal lives can be casually destroyed by “secret lists” compiled by accusers they cannot confront, by rumors on the internet, by thrilled, breathless reporting denouncing one after another of them as a pig, often based only on the allegation that they did something all-too-human and none-too-criminal like making a lewd joke. Why would we even want men to be subject to such strenuous, arduous taboos against the display of their sexuality? These taboos, note carefully, resemble in non-trivial ways those that have long oppressed women. In a world with such arduous taboos about male purity and chastity, surely, it is rational for men to have as little to do with women as possible. What’s in this for us?

Claire's article is a good read, and kudos to her for speaking out against the moral panic. The problem she has, though, is that women have thought this through.  This is exactly what they want.  Some variation of "now men understand the fear that women live with all the time" is the stock response of women online to the capricious nature of some of the allegations, among those that are targeting genuinely degenerate behavior and egregious abuses of power.

Neither gender can claim real innocence here.  We were warned.  I recall reading feminist author Daphne Patai's Heterophobia all the way back in 1998, wherein the ideology behind the radical feminist take on sexual harassment and cavalier disregard for due process was laid out very explicitly, and the dangers of what we're now beginning to see made absolutely clear.  Patai was not alone. The now famous Christina Hoff Sommers and Camille Paglia said many of the same things in books also written back in the 1990s.

None of this was accidental.  Feminism wanted to make rape and sexual harassment allegations into a club that they could hold above the heads of all men, as just desserts for how they believed and rationalized that all men held rape and sexual harassment themselves as clubs above women's heads. I would agree with Straughn and Berlinski's criticisms of the ethics, or lack thereof, in abusing the concepts of rape and sexual harassment in this way.  But I also can't help but think that I don't really blame the feminists either.  As I said, feminists know what their interests were and were prepared to fight for them.

Nonfeminist men and women need to complain about that less and learn from that more.

The burdens that men of the lower classes bore as described by Karen Straughan and Warren Farrell in his seminal work The Myth of Male Power were and are certainly unjust.  But as I've argued elsewhere, is it honest or accurate to blame the feminists for those burdens?  They should not be let off the hook for their actions, of course.  But neither should they bear the brunt of the blame for what their critics and opponents have done and failed to do.

To read antifeminist material these days, you'd think that feminism was this semi divine force, a power of nature beyond the reach of us mere mortals that has recently turned hostile towards the male of the species and afflicts him with woes of all kinds. To the extent that this is true, antifeminist propaganda would lead you to think that human agency and choices made by flesh and blood people has never had anything to do with it all. Reminiscent of neoliberal propaganda in the 1990s surrounding globalization, a political construct is recast as something akin to a law of nature, irresistible as it guarantees its own fidelity at all times. Best not to argue or try to resist, but rather to simply accept and adjust to the new reality as best you can.

Nonsense.  We have to start talking about male (and non feminist female) complicity in the excesses of feminism. Failing to speak out against something you think to be wrong helps to enable it, especially when it becomes a culturally ingrained habit among the general populace.  Feminists own no trademark on the concepts of organizing, activism and lobbying for the changes they desire.

By male (and non feminist female) complicity, I don't mean simply the odd male feminist sympathizer. I mean a very systemic hand-in-glove ongoing support for and enabling of feminist activism on part of powerful social and political institutions that were predominantly, sometimes exclusively, male in the composition of their executive and governance bodies, at least at the time the reforms in question were enacted.

Predominantly male legislative bodies passed laws that gave mothers primary custody and levied onerous alimony requirements on divorced men. Male governments and heads of state made decisions about how and when to go to war and who to conscript for said wars. Laws that allow men to face civil or even legal repercussions for polite civil greetings towards women in the workplace, or consensual sex that was subsequently regretted the next day were similarly passed by predominantly male governing bodies. Male bashing in media - corporations whose shareholders and upper management were, probably still are at least majority male. Women's studies courses and academic speech codes enacted by male deans and boards of governors in academia. I could go on, but I think you get the point.

In the face of ongoing feminist absurdity, a reasonable yet no-nonsense pushback from the male population and female sympathizers remains almost nonexistent. This is puzzling because, as Ms. Straughan's article points out, organizing a workplace and going on strike was a potentially fatal endeavor for working men up to the passage of the Wagner act in the New Deal era. Yet this did not stop many more strikes from occurring than we're seeing today. Defeat of the male working class manifests across multiple vectors. Civil rights workers were similarly taking their lives into their hands well into the postwar era, trying to register poor minorities to vote. 

To my knowledge, nobody has ever been killed for being an MRA. Doxxing and dismissal from employment is about as bad as they've gotten it to the best of my knowledge.  As far as systems of power go, western feminism, though contemptible in endless numbers of ways, is relatively mild. I won't end up in a gulag or being machete'd or stoned to death for criticizing feminism, like I would have been for criticizing the regime in a communist, military junta or Islamist dictatorship. Yet there's an ongoing paralyzing unwillingness on part of men to stand up for themselves vis-a-vis radical women. Why?

There are many explanations.  That women control access to sex and that men capitulate for fear of being denied sex.  As laughable and stupid as the most absurd plank of gender feminism.  The entire purpose of what's been called feminism for the last century and a half has been to reduce male sex with women to a vanishing point, though they'll never admit this.  To fail to resist for fear of losing precisely what you will lose if you don't resist is the definition of cowardly foolishness.  Other explanations are that we evolved to instinctually place a greater premium on female life, as the bearers of future generations, or that being raised by mothers primarily leads to a subconscious association of women with moral authority.  Perhaps it is being raised with chivalrous attitudes, internalization of feminist narratives of male guilt and so on.

Any or all of these may be true.  But ultimately they're no excuse.  With awareness comes responsibility.  Instinct and upbringing are hard (at first) to go against.  That's what collective support and consciousness raising are for.  

In the case of feminism, the benefits of men showing collective backbone go beyond simply curbing misandrist nonsense in the public square.  That women are naturally more attracted to men with spine enough to at least stand up to them is not exactly a well kept secret.  This simple insight is pretty much the basis of a lot of redpill and PUA game theory. I'll not be the first to hypothesize that the juvenile, stupid and standoffish elements of feminism are largely a collective "shit test" aimed at forcing men to actually stand up and speak out against it.  A man who cannot stand up to his woman cannot stand up for his woman, and not surprisingly few women actually find that attractive.  More than one woman has actually explained that to me in exactly those terms.

I do not let feminists and their numerous excesses off the hook. This isn't about victim blaming. But there needs to be more acknowledgement in MRM and antifeminist circles of male complicity in even the worst excesses of feminism. Andrea Dworkin was married in life, as is Clementine Ford married with children today, last time I checked. So what does that tell you? It does not reflect well on us men, that is for certain.

Radical feminist ideologues of that nature were a tiny minority of the population in the 60s and 70s when their influence peaked, and have never been anything approaching a majority of the population since. They won and they continue to win because they consistently face little or no opposition that's organized and strategizes. I find it utterly astounding that so neurotic and screwed up a segment of the population has managed to dictate gender and sexual mores to whole populations.

There simply has to be a taking of ownership on part of men, individually and collectively, for their role in enabling or at least failing to speak out against the excesses of feminism. In the age of social media, it should be easier now than ever for men and sympathetic women to organize and begin exerting pressure in a more reasonable direction as far as gender politics goes. I can't believe that it can't be done when I look back on historical revolutions, the formation of the industrial unions, civil rights and the end of segregation and apartheid, the fall of communism and see numerous instances of very corrupt, unjust and autocratic systems of power gradually yielding to sustained populist pressures. 

It's almost as if the bulk of the population is asking permission of feminists to dissent and criticize, or are simply content to navel gaze and wait for the radfems to come to their senses on their own. We'll be waiting a damn long time the way things are going.  

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Thursday, 16 November 2017

Beyond Feminist vs. MRA

Opinion: The Alt-Left should be neither feminist nor for men's rights. It should be for good relationships between the sexes.

It's a familiar story for anyone who's been online for any length of time. A discussion starts over a gender or feminism related topic.  There've been plenty of these lately since the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment scandal broke in Hollywood and the me too hashtag campaign, so there's no shortage of examples to choose from.  There's nothing unique about these conversations, however.  They've been taking place on social media since Facebook and Twitter first launched, and were commonplace on bulletin boards long before anyone knew what a comments section was.  The basic conversation hasn't changed much in the decades since Al Gore invented the internet. <grin>  A typical conversation will go something like this.

Feminist: Men rape and harass women. <subtext> That's why men suck and women should reject them.
MRA: But not all men.  <subtext> But not me.  That should give me an advantage in the mating game with women, should it not?
Feminist: But only men.  Plus patriarchy, power, privilege, rape culture, etc. <subtext> Not so fast, buster!  You're part of the segment of the population that does the most rape and who benefits from rape, and are therefore not so innocent as you'd like to believe.  And therefore suck no less and are no less deserving of rejection.
MRA: But what about false accusations? What about women who sexually assault men? <subtext> This nullifies the advantage you claimed in your previous statement.  Therefore, women should more readily accept and sleep with us.  I mean me!

It's never long before a conversation like this breaks down, and school yard level copypasta insults break out.  "Boo hoo!  Teh poor menz!" "Enjoy your cats!" So on and so on.  It'll inevitably come down to one or both sides being ugly, living in their parent's basements and being unable to get laid. This is due to the fact that the surface conversation is never nearly as important as the subtext that continually underlies conflicts over gender theory and its real world implications.

The unstated but nonetheless omnipresent axioms that are revealed when any kind of deconstructive analysis is applied to such discussions are that male power is expressed through sexual conquest of the female, and that female power is expressed through sexual rejection of the male.  All else is ancillary.  Which is largely why pro and anti feminists talk past one another and at one another far, far more than with one another.  The legitimate issues raised by either side fall by the wayside because they're obviously being weaponized to one or the other of those two ultimate effects.  The real purpose for bringing up rape, harassment, divorce, child support or any other issue, at least in online discussion, is to lower the value of one gender relative to the other, for the ultimate purpose of making sex either easier (in favor of men) or harder (in favor of women) to attain.

There's just one problem with this paradigm, however.  It doesn't work.  It's not making anyone happy.  It's based in a glaringly flawed assessment of human nature, and is much more rooted in ego than in reason or human empathy.  Men are not going to be rejected into sympathizing with women's concerns.  They go their own way instead, doubtlessly with the intent of bringing those pesky, uppity women to heel.  No dice: women are angrier now than ever.  Who'd have guessed?  The result is that heterosexual activity has been driven into a kind of moral black market, wherein most people actually do it at some point or another, but also have to conceal it, rationalize it or engage in it under some kind of false pretenses much of the time to avoid social censure. "An Ashtray With a no Smoking Sign," as Slavoj Zizek recently described the emerging rules of sexuality.  No wonder bad behavior abounds.

It's time to smarten up, people.  Get out of the grade school mentality.  Let's at least try and hit puberty, okay internet?  Human nature is not especially complicated.  We tend to simmer down when we feel that our concerns are being heard and taken somewhat seriously, even if disagreed with in some ways.  The natural response of people when faced with a lecturing, condescending tone is to get defensive, not to open one's heart or mind.  This is true however legitimate the surface grievance actually is or is not.  Which isn't to say you accept bullshit uncontested.  Rather, let your assessment of what's bullshit and what isn't depend on honest appraisal, which you can't get without listening and understanding.

Whatever your claim to victimhood, past or present, however poorly you were treated as a child or in your past relationships, other people, even the opposite sex, will not accept your shitty and abusive behavior. Not indefinitely, at any rate.  However much you feel entitled to it.  Two wrongs don't make a right.  This is something we feel instinctively, if not intellectually.  It stops mattering who started it, or who inflicted or suffered the greater suffering after a point.  Neither women nor men will accept the other's claim to morally superior status based on previous victimhood and grievance, even if real.  

It is easy to say that we should set our fragile egos aside and listen seriously to the other side when they lay out their grievances and issues.  This is true.  But when the other side does not expect this of themselves, even the most legitimate gripe becomes tainted by the ultimately self-serving purpose to which it is put.  The kinds of behavior displayed by feminists and MRAs alike in most internet discussions between the two would be emotionally abusive were they done in real life, and increasingly these kinds of relationship dynamics are spilling out of cyberspace and into the real world.  It is no wonder that growing numbers of people, especially the young, are eschewing relationships with the opposite sex all together, and claiming to be happier doing so.

And that's fine for some individuals.  If you're happier going it alone, and I think some people are naturally disposed this way, have at it.  But that'll be a disaster for society as a whole.  Fewer lasting successful marriages and long term relationships (LTRs) are poised to cause all kinds of problems down the road.  Demographic and economic dependency ratios are bound to get worse, and socially destabilizing levels of mass immigration will need to be employed to compensate for falling birth rates.   Frustrated romantic and sexual drives will find expression in other, usually more antisocial ways, from mounting political or religious extremism to mental health problems and increased cynicism.  Even many, though not all, of those who claim to be happier being single are not so much once you scratch the surface. A certain regret often, though not always, presents itself. And why not? Humans were not hardwired to live alone and not pass on their genes to future generations. A society losing its capacity for love and empathy is not one we should aspire to be a part of.  

So here's a proposal.  The alt-left should be neither feminist nor MRA.  Not exclusively. We should be instead for healthy and good relationship dynamics, be they platonic, romantic or erotic.  We should listen to the concerns of both sides and sort the valid and legitimate grievances from the entitled whining and vapid boasting.  It should not be a concern of the alt-left which of the two has the more legitimate grievances and is therefore more deserving.  Ten years and God knows how many flame wars into the social media age later, we should know by now that ideological partisanship and competitive victimhood isn't actually helping anybody. It's driving a spiral of mutual frustration that is causing increased polarization and extremism. 

Even if one gender really does have it worse than the other by a wide margin, our approach should be one of mutual listening and empathy, not one of grievance and vengeance.  This is not to say that we can't prioritize some issues over others or that wrongdoers can't be called out and exposed to such sanction and censure as their actions warrant. But it should never be an ego stroking exercise.  Even if you've had it worse or your sex or gender has been on the receiving end of injustice.  The world doesn't owe you anything, whatever you may think.  Success, be it alone or in partnership, derives from responsibility, not entitlement.

So if you're single or attached, male or female, here are some things you can do vis-a-vis the opposite sex to improve the situation.  And in case you are wondering, this is over twenty years of relationship success (I've been with my present wife since 1995) and a decade of every mistake imaginable leading up to it, talking.  There's much I learned the hard way:
  • Listen.  Nothing is more effective at defusing anger.
  • Do not stereotype the opposite sex unironically or for non-comedic purposes.
  • Stop with the vain, stupid games. Crushing some young man or woman's confidence in him/herself won't bring down the patriarchy or gynocentrism, and it doesn't make you strong or independent.  It makes you an asshole, be you male or female. 
  • Do not participate in discussions that tend to descend into pissing contests of competitive victimhood, and clearly state this.  Ask instead, "what do you want?"  That's a powerful question that can very effectively shut down entitled whiners with weaponized grievances.
  • You are owed nothing.  Approach all relationships with the opposite sex, or with anyone, with that in mind.  This is not to say that you should tolerate shit and abuse. Don't. But don't expect to be put on a pedestal either.
  • Do not have as an expectation from an ideal partner a trait you do not have or can not match.  Half of our problems stem from 6's thinking they're actually good matches for 10's, so to speak. Do not expect a prince if you're not a princess, or vice versa.  And assess yourself honestly to save a lot of trouble.
  • Live a good life outside of a relationship context.  This signifies that you will not be dead weight but instead a net asset in other people's lives.  No one wants a needy dependent.
  • Trust must come before any kind of relationship intimacy, be it physical or emotional.  Always. Take it upon yourself to earn rather than demand trust.  Decide at what point your efforts are in vain and when to move on.
  • Do not expect from a relationship partner anything that you can do for yourself.  Relationship success thrives best when free of contrived obligations and expectations.  Otherwise resentments creep in and do damage.
  • Do not be afraid to point out the <subtextual> elements and their underlying axioms (see above for examples) in gendered discussions, but do so only if the person you're discussing things with becomes obstinate, obtuse or clearly hostile.  The underlying pettiness and stupidity become readily apparent when brought to light.
  • Likewise, if need be, remind people that two wrongs don't make a right.  Plus, no man was ever rejected, nagged, scolded or castrated into liking and respecting women.  No woman was ever convinced by rational argument or else likewise rejected, scolded or shamed into liking men.  People don't work that way.  Don't hesitate to point this out.
  • Make your disdain for passive aggressiveness clear, if need be.
  • If people insist on dominating conversations with socially destabilizing displays of rudeness, sarcasm or hostility, do not be afraid to call them out on it and exclude them from further social activities.  If you moderate or administer an online or social media space, you have a special responsibility here.  Trolls thrive on the emotionally destabilizing effect that their refusal to be decent and reasonable people has.  Do not tolerate it and ban them at once.
  • Admit that the opposite sex doesn't always have it easy.  Try to replace resentment with walking in the other man or woman's shoes, as the case may be. This isn't to say it's equally bad on both sides, all the time.  Occasionally people will need to be told to stop whining.
  • Do not attribute to malice what can be attributed to clumsiness or ignorance without evidence. This is especially true with flirtation, flattery or the like.
And above all ...
  • Get the f**k off the internet every once and awhile.  Yeah, I know.  It's hard.  But there are numerous dynamics that contribute to the internet being a relatively uncivil place where your faith in humanity can easily go to die.  Meet people in the real world from time to time.  They're usually (though not always) not what they appear to be when seen as just a social media profile.
So that in mind, get out there and see the world, dear reader!

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Sunday, 12 November 2017

Ernest Everhard Speaks his Mind - Nov 12, 2017

A compilation of my thoughts over the last two weeks.

My observation of things during the Bush years was that the rise of the new atheism was much more enabled by disillusionment with the Bush White House and, by extent, the conservative Christianity it was associated with than it was by a climate of anti-Islamism following 9/11, though that certainly was a factor. Though outspoken critics of Islam, Harris, Dawkins and Hitchens channeled anti-Islamism into a broader critique of religion in general, and thereby actually helped stave off a more ugly, reactionary and xenophobic form of far right anti-Islamism. 

The new atheism thus provided American liberalism with its own explanatory narrative of 9/11 - that it was caused by religiosity more generally - that doubly served as a critique of subsequent foreign policy errors in the middle east during the Bush years: neocon policy was driven in large part by Christian right ideology and that nation building in the middle east was a doomed exercise from the beginning due to the excessive religious tendencies of the region's inhabitants. I'd suspect that this, as much as the Lehman bro's meltdown, is what put Obama in the White House.

Most outspoken atheists I knew who were HUGE fans of Dawkins, Hitchens and Harris were outspoken against Christianity almost exclusively, and these were also firmly in support of classic democrat party platforms: pro gay marriage, pro abortion, comprehensive sex ed, staunchly opposed to teaching creationism or intelligent design in the classroom, etc. etc. This seemed to me in rather stark contrast to their implied disdain for dogmatism and party line thinking. This, more than anything, was what got me thinking that the new atheists weren't seeing the whole picture. For all their disdain for religion, it was quite remarkable to me just how "religious" their thinking really was in some ways. Jordan B Peterson would thus be a question of when, not if.

The new atheism was as much the genesis of the SJW movement as the postmodern college lectern was. It was the beginning of the mainstreaming of the progressive who stood above, as opposed to alongside of, the common man. They despised the middle American working class no less than the SJW does, but for his religion rather than his race or his sexuality. While they clearly weren't fans of Islam, they had comparably little to say about it. It was largely below the progressive radar. Again, those of the skeptic community who sided against the SJWs when the schism finally came in around 2013 or so redeemed themselves to some extent in this regard. I hope they do not squander this redemption by getting too close to the reactionaries and the alt-right simply because they have a common enemy in the SJWs and mass Islamic immigration.

"Privilege is therefore a counterproductive way of framing many issues that we now see in terms of racial and gender identity, such as sexual assault, wage inequality and abuse of police powers. Assuming that the advantages supposedly enjoyed by white males are "privileges" implies that some authority somewhere, presumably white and male itself bestowed the advantages on white males as an act of personal favoritism (it didn't), it presumes that white males are able to individually or collectively renounce these privileges but won't (they can't) and that it is therefore acceptable for the less privileged to hate on those who are arbitrarily favored in this manner (it isn't, since it doesn't work this way in the real world.)" Deep Politics: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate at The Alternative Left.

Intersectional identity politics is like Nazism in a mirror. It's like the architects of this ideology decided to take everything Hitler said, invert it and make it their own. The result is a chimerical creation that, through its efforts to be the absolute anti fascism, becomes like fascism in many ways.
Race is determinant, only the white race takes the place of the Jews as the destroyer of civilizations. White racial pride is replaced with white racial guilt, but racial identity is considered paramount.

Likewise, both are preoccupied with masculinity. For the Nazis, virile masculinity is essential to the greatness of the Aryan while for Intersectional Feminists, virile masculinity is essential for the destructiveness of the white. Nazis fear Jewish influence making men effeminate and masculinizing women. Intersectional Feminists fear patriarchy and white supremacy stopping men from becoming effeminate and preventing the masculinization of women. Both fear individual whites, blacks, men and women from living their own lives on their own terms.

With Intersectional feminism, nobody is really permitted to advocate for themselves, but loyalty and fealty is owed to those deemed more marginalized and oppressed, rather than those who are allegedly superior. If socialists advocate for, well, socialism, they're called "brocialists" because they don't advocate for women's issues. If the women's movement advocates for, well, women's issues, they're attacked as "white feminists" for not advocating for women of color or as "heteronormative" or "TERFs" for not advocating for queer or transwomen. Black cis/het males are condemned as the "white people of black people" and told to check their privilege vis-a-vis the broader anti-racist movement. Cisgender gay men are routinely attacked for their alleged misogyny, racism and transphobia. On and on. Common with fascism is anti individualism and a subordination of class consciousness to a sacrificial devotion to some or another external group.

This results in complete movement paralysis, as little time is spent actually advocating for any measurable reforms and most of the effort is spent calling out other activists for their sundry forms of unchecked privilege, and is also in absolute and complete contrast to Nazism, in which the will of a singular leader representing the master race is the will to power that all good Aryan men are called upon to emulate, though they will always fall short of Hitler's perfect example. Nazism is the absolute exaltation of the will to power, intersectional feminism is the absolute negation of the will to power.

As with all other kinds of fascism, complete obedience is owed to those above you in the status hierarchy, and free reign is given to abuse those lower than you on it. Intersectionalist articles routinely attack the "fragility" of males, whites or others with privileged identities who object to the disrespect and juvenile behavior they're subjected to while in spaces where intersectionality is upheld as paramount.

If you were to define feminism as simply the view that men and women are equal in some abstract, "in the eyes of God" sort of sense, than I'm all for it. I suppose I'm down with the core program: equal pay for equal work, my body my choice, and so on. There is no denying that a lot of objectionable conduct towards women from men takes place.

The problems I have with it are twofold and somewhat interrelated. The first is that most feminism comes across to me as judgemental and puritanical. The feminist apple did not fall far from the Victorian era social purity movement tree on which it grew. Male heterosexuality is viewed with extreme suspicion, and is seen as objectifying to women due to an unstated but implied view that gender relations are somehow a zero sum game. The nature of sex relations is such that men's gain is woman's loss and vice versa. If a male likes something, it is to be regarded as "objectifying" while that which the male dislikes is to be regarded as "empowering." This is never outrightly stated, mind you, but often implied.

The puritanism extends well beyond mere personal relations, though. I notice an overarching "brother's keeper" mentality within feminism wherein a heavy weight of moral responsibility seems to be felt for the less fortunate and less privileged. This has gotten exponentially worse since "intersectionality" has become the dominant concept in most capital F feminism. While there is nothing wrong with charity or real work aimed at empowering marginalized people, intersectional feminism and the whole SJW movement it's given rise to seems to pursue this in a guilt and obligation laden manner. I see a lot of guilt tripping and - while this is frequently denied openly, being "privileged" is often implied as something that someone is supposed to feel guilty and personally responsible for.

It is often used as a pretext to hand wave away dissent: the privileged are allowed no opinion on anything, at least on anything social justice related. This leads to what my second and I think my far greater objection to feminism is.

And this is that feminism has become a closed belief system. People are reduced to their combination of marginalized or privileged statuses, and this is seen as the determinant factor in all social relations. Dissent is shut down because it is dismissed as privilege trying to rationalize itself, or else internalized oppression if it comes from someone more rather than less marginalized. Feminist spaces therefore have a tendency of becoming echo chambers where towing the line, signalling, buzzwords, slogans, copy pasta and canned responses all too often serve as a substitute for open discourse.

The world view this engenders is thus extremely Manichean - meaning neatly divided into pure good vs ultimate evil with no middle ground. What is needed for the "good" to win is not the usual give and take of regular politics, but all out crusade. Negotiation is out of the question - one does not negotiate with privilege and oppression, except maybe to gain some other kind of needed advantage. Too often, the result is self righteousness and dogmatism, and feminist spaces become rife with purity spiralling, boundary policing and stifling self censorship for those who do not perfectly fit in.

The cumulative effect of all of this is a kind of exhausting moral overreach that is frustrating and wearisome for all involved, sooner or later dissolves into disillusionment, and ends up silencing and invisiblizing far more people than it actually empowers. The intentions are, of course, good. Most of the time, at least. I do think petty misandry does creep in from time to time. But for the most part, feminist activism is aimed at empowering the more marginalized and this is, of course, commendable. 

But it's conditions for doing so always seem to demand that someone else more "privileged" be silenced. Male leftists are dismissed as "brocialists" for not emphasizing women's issues. Mainstream feminism is dismissed as being "white" or "cis/heteronormative" for not emphasizing the issues faced by women of color or queer/transwomen. I've seen cisgender gay males called misogynist for sexually rejecting women (while heterosexual men are similarly denounced for sexually favoring ciswomen (objectification) or rejecting "women" with penises (transphobia).

It reminds me a lot of that old aesop story about the man, the boy and the donkey, who continually rearranged who rode on the donkey and who didn't until they finally ended up causing the donkey to fall into a river and drown: try to please all, and you will please none.

You can take the God out of the puritan. But taking the puritan out of the nonbeliever is proving more difficult. So feminism was vaulted into prominence in the formerly Christian world to renormalize repressive, guilt based morality and to make thinking that sex was dirty and degrading acceptable again.

Part of what's driving the men's rights movement (of which I'm not much of a supporter, truth be told) to the right is, and let's be honest here, the gynocentric and misandrist tendencies on the left. Not all of the left, to be sure. But it's definitely there. Hell, a fair amount of leftism I'm seeing these days is barely disguised femdom - which probably goes a ways in explaining why so many feminist men end up being such sexual mutants, as we're now discovering with all these sexual misconduct allegations coming out of Hollywood, and so on. 

A major problem I have with the way the culture wars are shaking down is that it's evolving into this:

Left = Female > Male
Right = Male > Female

This trend is stupid and needs to be resisted, and that was a big part of why I started Alternative Left. I'm a male, generally moderate - pro feminist in the classical liberal sense - on gender related issues but an avid supporter of a strong welfare state, regulations on banks, labor unions and so on. But most people who share those views with me despise my genitalia and heterosexuality.  Few will come right out and say it, but the subtext is virtually always there. And then we wonder why men drift right, even if it countermands their economic interests if they're also working class. 

I do get why the left supported feminism in the first place: women were marginalized and excluded compared to men, all else being equal, and so support of equality for women made sense for those whose value system stressed equality more generally. But this has now evolved into full on gender partisanship. To much of the left these days, women are simply better. It's caused them to take up a lot of strangely Victorian era attitudes that until relatively recently, the left was most critical of.

Conversely, what about women who are avid supporters of the free market? How do they manage in what otherwise tends to be a real old boy's club? I wonder if a Margaret Thatcher could even get started in this day and age - not that I would have a problem with no Margaret Thatcher, mind you. Not that women aren't welcome on the right - the moderate center right leastwise, but it does seem to skew more decidedly masculine in its overall culture.

The battle of the sexes would be better kept off the political spectrum.

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