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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Egolitarianism - the Core Disease of the Left

But we did, Nathan. And that's precisely the problem. In the unlikely event that Nathan J. Robinson of Current Affairs magazine and...