June 24, 2015 § Leave a comment
On the issue of Bernie Sanders, the fact is that American imperialism cannot expect to function without the semblance of political legitimacy. If they expect the American population to go on green lighting wars, consuming, and generally ignoring the finer details of what the ruling class is up to outside of our borders, they’ll have to buy them off with at least the expectation of economic opportunity. Consumerism is bread and circuses, and so long as they’re providing this, the mainstream “left” will look the other way.
But they aren’t able to keep their hands out of the cookie jar and they’re rapidly cannibalizing the American population in the same way they have cannibalized any number of countries where the U.S. could support an oligarchy or dictatorship against its own people. It’s becoming clear to more and more of the population that they aren’t on the team, not even as junior partners or bottom feeders. The legitimacy of this ruling class will increasingly come into question until the point where a segment of mainstream begins to view them like they would view any foreign occupying power.
Even if they can, as ever, deflect the blame for a failed economic and political system on to scapegoats for the benefit of the populist right, how long do we think that this will work when even libertarian defectors from the Republican party are blaming the banks in addition to immigrants and whoever else they imagine stole “their country” from them.
If Sanders is serious and he can actually enact many of the domestic reforms he’s suggesting, what he will have done is made ordinary Americans beneficiaries of the U.S. imperialist system. If you think about it, he’s the mirror image of Ron Paul. Paul called our imperialist foreign policy “wars for special interest” and amazingly brought up the U.S.’s ouster of Mossadegh in a public debate. Paul had foreign policy (in many ways) right, but his domestic policy was atrocious. Sanders has domestic policy right but wants (apparently) an atrocious foreign policy.
It would appear that this is the choice the ruling class will be giving us, should the two party system fail to give them the air of legitimacy: We can have a more rational foreign policy or a rational domestic policy, but not both.
June 21, 2015 § 1 Comment
The following comment was removed from this article which appeared on Bill Moyers & Co.
The irony is that its removal proves the point of the comment.
It’s a nightmare. We hear over and over again how “feminism helps men too,” and certainly there is no debate on gender which is socially acceptable unless it’s within the terms feminists dictate and yet nobody wants to talk about what it means that so many men are stuck living with parents in post “mancession” America where unskilled and increasingly precarious labor no longer pays enough to live on, education costs half as much as a mortgage, and the cost of renting an apartment in most markets has never in recent memory dwarfed the average income to the degree to which it current does.
We can pretend that somehow this is just as horrible for women, but we all know there isn’t nearly as much social stigma attached to it. Living at home is not going to significantly impact their ability to find a mate, enjoy a basic level of dignity, have reasonable social lives, and be able to meet basic social, emotional, and psychological needs that everyone has.
Most women can have a reasonable expectation of still being able to date. They are not shut out of the most important aspects of social life entirely and rendered socially and sexually invisible because of their professional and financial situation. Many can even expect to be rescued from it by somebody who has the financial means to support them, and even if they can’t, they aren’t necessarily reduced to a laughingstock for having fallen into their predicament.
This is not the case for men. Men can’t expect some woman to throw them a life preserver, nor are they ever allowed to point this out without being attacked for it. Men aren’t even allowed their own feelings on the matter – y’know, the feelings that feminists promise we’ll be allowed to have if they get their way – without being ridiculed or accused. They either perform economically like mules or else they don’t exist because women tie men’s value as human beings to their ability to provide and achieve social status. Men do not tie women’s value as human beings to these things.
The growing number of men who can’t perform economically are never supposed to consider the systemic or cultural context in which they experience the social ostracization that economic and professional failure earns them. Like the garden variety working class reactionary workhorse and apologist for capitalism who finds himself without a job, they are supposed to be ashamed of it, to blame themselves, and never question the origin of their condition or speak of it in any public forum. The left can easily recognize how this atomization-through-shame hobbles our ability to respond to the problem of a failing economic system because such a recognition leads inexorably to a criticism of capitalism, but it can never recognize the gender component of it, because such a recognition would lead inexorably to a criticism of women.
It’s pathetic. Such a society is in fact hideous and worthy of contempt.
We can’t even discuss the gender dimension of poverty as it applies to men because it would mean actually having to hold women responsible for their expectations of the opposite sex. God forbid we ever even recognize that those expectations would have any impact on our culture or men’s lives. That would require us to stop thinking of women as if they are children and start recognizing that they are fully responsible moral and civic agents who represent fully half the culture and have just as much, if not more, say-so in what socially acceptable forms of masculinity look like. That is to say that they have just as much responsibility for our given arrangement, to say nothing of how it developed historically.
Indeed, to even raise these questions opens one up to the suspicion that he has adopted a socially unacceptable form of masculinity and this is why everybody will go on pretending and not talking about it, so keen are they to avoid being accused of being a loser or a woman hater.
The reality is that not being able to live on your own is devastating for men because women expect them to be able to do this for the same reason they expect men to defer to women’s supposed weakness, oppression, and victimhood and forever play the hero who proves he’s not the bad guy by demonstrating his commitment to protect the damsels from the patriarchal oppressors, the rapists and misogynists, the supposed male villains. Heros rarely live with mommy and daddy, and our strong independent women apparently are still expecting men to play hero, at least when it’s convenient for women.
There is, of course, no reciprocal expectation of women. Once you realize this, you suddenly realize that men and women aren’t in this together. The class struggle, such as it is, is far different for men and women since women, apparently, have a radically different relationship to capitalism and to the power structure if they are still expecting men to succeed professionally and financially without the reciprocal social pressure placed upon them from men. One could even argue that women’s expectations are an important – if not the most important – mechanism of social control that the power structure and the ruling class has at its disposal.
After all, are we so sure that there is any other convincing set of incentives and disincentives which would compel men’s engagement with institutions like school, work, and commerce other than the promise of social integration and being able to start and support families? What other carrot does the ruling class have in order to convince men to green light their wars, work in their offices and factories, and pay fealty to their political and economic system by participating in it? What other stick would be powerful enough to compel men to form gangs, engage in criminality, or risk death and injury in the military or through attempts at revolution other than the failure to “be a man” and affect the independence and self reliance that women expect?
The privileged oppressors whose lives are “like a video game set to easy” are three times as likely to be homeless as women. Let’s all pretend this isn’t a gender issue or avoid women’s contribution to the outcome.
It should be obvious that what men expect of women is typically within women’s control while the same cannot be said of women’s expectations of men. Men expect women to take care of themselves physically, which is something that any woman is fully capable of doing, but women expect men to have social status, earn income, achieve professional status and so on. She can go on a diet, but what does he do in the worst economy since the 1930s? Overthrow the government?
Something so basic to human well being is for women tethered to and predicated upon nothing more than simple and straightforward male preferences which she can actually adhere to if she is so inclined, but for men it is tethered to and predicated upon macro-aggregate historical and economic forces that he may have very little control over. Therefore, we can conclude that the intra-female competition to meet male expectations will not have an economic and political consequence in the way that the intra-male competition to meet female expectations will. There is no political or economic consequence to men’s preferences, but that cannot be said of women’s preferences.
If we recognize this fact, then we have to start asking what contribution women’s expectations make to any given economic and political arrangement, since it’s not as if successfully qualifying for women’s intimacy is a side issue in men’s lives. Clearly it’s front and center. Its the basic mechanism through which the whole social fabric is woven.
But we can’t ask these questions about women’s expectations or beliefs about the opposite sex, now can we? Feminism promises us that we’ll be able to “express our feelings” in a post-patriarchal gender egalitarian utopia, but I can be pretty certain we won’t be allowed to express *these* feelings, now will we? The truth is that men are not allowed their own experience of gender if it should produce “feelings” which women do not identify with, understand, and approve of.
As ever, in gender egalitarian land, men are expected to defer to women, I guess.
Sooner or later, we’re going to have to have this conversation. The fact that we haven’t had it yet, even after forty years of feminist scholarship and advocacy should lend credence to the view that feminism has nothing to do with equality.
The right wing is insane, but I have to be honest, I’m starting to drift away from the left because it doesn’t seem like they can grapple with these issues. I highly doubt I’m alone in this.
*There’s no possibility of even discussing these issues because of feminist gender bigotry.*
And that’s what it is: Bigotry. It’s reached the point that I don’t even see much difference between them and the social and religious conservative right. Two sides to the same worthless coin. It’s hopeless.
June 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
You guys go on defending SJWs as if they aren’t reactionaries themselves. It’s a moronic lynch mob operating on the non logic of a moral panic. The brand of feminism that tabloid sites like Jezebel and Feministing churn out shares more in its cultural logic with reactionary bigotry than it does with anything that is authentically left wing and authentically concerned with social justice.
Since when would social justice have anything to do with demonizing the sexuality of others and persecution politics? Isn’t it obvious that much of modern feminism retains the bigoted and bourgeois assumptions of 20th century privileged white women? Could you not see that in the fall out of that Holler Back video?
It has absolutely nothing to do with justice or equality and its destroying the left. They are essentially taking the demonization and distrust we reserved for men who were minorities and are extending it to all men. And all in the name of protecting women and children, who the so called gender egalitarians curiously conflate in ways not even the right wing would do.
Isn’t that identical to any lynch mob? They’re always lynching the boogeyman to protect women and children, aren’t they? Was Emmett Till a “street harasser?” Are you guys dumb enough to think that the Klan which lynched them didn’t feel the same righteous indignation and desire to protect women from the bad guys that you guys feel when you’re bleating and mewling about people like Paul Elam?
Pop quiz. Give the righteous, chivalrous lynch mob little uniforms, jack boots, and truncheons and what do you get? That is quite literally what fascism was, an organized lynch mob. Oh, you think that’s hyperbole? Ever bother to look at war time propaganda which designated the Jew as the lecherous menace of virginal “Aryan” women?” Or the “Jap” as the dehumanized boogeyman menacing American white women?
The American version of the early post ww I fascist groups which sprouted in every western country was the Klan revival in the wake of DW Griffith’s Birth of a Nation, a movie about a black guy who rapes a white woman. Watch a film like Fritz Lang’s M, which is about the vigilante justice of a Weimar-era mob against the nefarious male boogeyman sex criminal which is necessary because the state is illegitimate or ineffective. The truth is that men have been falling all over themselves to play hero for women or else risk shame for a millennia and this has been the most powerful mechanism to get them to die in conflicts by the millions for the benefit of a ruling class.
The reality is that a lot of you have no serious engagement with feminist ideas because you’re afraid to even question it if it will get you branded the misogynist, fedora wearing creep, the embittered loser who is unattractive to women. And that is identical to what the workhorse, reactionary apologist for capitalism feels when he, in precisely the same way, refuses to question the capitalist system which pits him against the “losers” in the rat race who refuse “personal responsibility.”
He’s just as afraid of being seen as the lazy, entitled, whiner who couldn’t hack it in the labor pool as you are of being the fedora wearing loser whining about the sexual market place. Both you and they are quick to refuse the systemic or cultural context in which social phenomena occurs and insist on confusing it with “personal problems.” If you can’t see that very obvious parallel, you’re deluding yourself.
In both cases it is an excuse to remain indifferent to suffering. It’s frightened bottom feeders who have internalized the value system their exploiters because they’re afraid of losing their position on a social totem. The apologist for capitalism depoliticizes his condition, feels shame, and blames himself. The apologist for a gynocentric society that pits men against one another in order to conform to whatever male identity women approve of does the same, does he not? Your supposed identification with feminism is actually a product of chivalry, not a progressive or egalitarian understanding of gender.
If you take an idea seriously, you’ll ruthlessly criticize it. If it stands up to that criticism, it’s worth taking seriously, yeah? Yet none of you will ruthlessly criticize feminism’s utterly absurd and entirely erroneous interpretations of male reality or male sexuality. Instead you’re thinking “yeah, men are pigs, but I’m not a pig! I’m different!” and falling all over yourself to prove it. Get a clue, the average guy thinks he’s different than the average guy, just as the average working class reactionary thinks he’s a harder worker and more deserving than every other schmuck competing for the scraps from the master’s table.
Feminists will claim up and down that they already understand the male narrative, since it’s a male dominated society. Yet they will turn around and claim that masculinity is an artifice. So which is it, geniuses? Is it artifice or is it an authentic narrative?
What logic suggests is that you have an artificial male narrative. Now figure class into the picture and it looks like you have an artificial male narrative which would only be reflective of ruling class men. And all of this would assume that women could even interpret that narrative correctly and understand what it even meant to men at all.
Oh so it looks like you don’t have a male narrative, so I guess we can dispense with the empowered girl snark and “what about the menz!” bullshit. It looks like feminism has absolutely no understanding of the other half of the gender equation. Nor did it ever. How could it have? Which men were there to explain to them how they were getting it wrong? Were conservatives supposed to do that, because the left sure as fuck wasn’t going to do it. Nor will it do so now for the reasons mentioned above. Care to comment?
“Define SJW. You keep referring to this mysterious ‘they’, some American Ku Klux Klan Hitler facist lynch mob, and I have no idea who you’re talking about. Who’s the boogeyman here? It’s very presumptuous of you to think that men who support feminism do so only out of fear, even more so to think that all of them are heterosexual and care about being attractive to women, but I suppose you don’t even need any evidence for this since this is ‘the reality’.
The fact that you associate feminism with ‘men are pigs’ means that you should get a clue. I’m male and I have no idea what the hell ‘the male narrative’ is. I can tell you that masculinity is artificial in so far as it is a social construct. After all, some women are masculine and some men are not. You made a very strong claim at the end there. I’m sure there were plenty of men who explained to those fighting for women’s rights ‘how they were getting it wrong’. Ironic how there’s no ‘serious engagement with feminist ideas’ at all in your comment; it’s just one gigantic appeal to emotion.”
I already defined “they,” I mentioned the tabloid Jezebel and Feministing brand of twitter and tumblr feminism. I really hope you have something more to offer than a no true Scotsman argument or some variation on “not all feminists are like that.”
Let’s just take Anita Sarkeesian for instance. If you just replaced “women” with “the family” or “children” in her argument, you’d have something identical to right wing social conservative scaremongering. We’ll all snicker and pat ourselves on the back for being sophisticated left wingers when the 700 club trots out arguments about how video games are evil, but the left forms a righteous blubbering lynch mob the moment you replace “children” with “women.”
That is classic reactionary bourgeois bullshit which assumes that the root of injustice or social dysfunction is “poor moral and life choices” rather than finding a systemic root. That is how it can function as moral critique and demonize the targeted and accused boogeyman. It’s because reactionaries and bigots do not recognize systems, only big bad villains who do what they do because they’re mean and evil or too stupid to know better.
Care to point me to feminists who have noticed this? Even just one. We currently have a gender discourse in which somebody could seriously write an article which argued that Elliot Rodger was the result of sexist assumptions we find in Seth Rogan movies and not one feminist called her on this. It’s a joke.
We’re in the dark ages in thinking about gender and that’s a curious state of affairs 40 years into the sexual revolution.
“It’s very presumptuous of you to think that men who support feminism do so only out of fear, even more so to think that all of them are heterosexual and care about being attractive to women, but I suppose you don’t even need any evidence for this since this is ‘the reality’. ”
There’s really nothing presumptuous about it, unless you want to seriously argue that a male can take exception to a “safe space” clause in the bylaws of your union without immediately being suspected of being a “rape apologist” or about a thousand other sinister or vicious male stereotypes and boogeymen by virtually everybody within earshot. At this point you’re just playing make believe. But you wouldn’t take exception to it if you had internalized that belief system, and we would do this because we’re rationalizing or not seriously engaging with feminist ideas. It’s safer and easier that way. If we were doing it, we wouldn’t necessarily even know we were doing it.
That is in fact how all sexism works. We retain unexamined and unconscious assumptions, don’t we? Wouldn’t those sexist assumptions obviously entail ideas about one’s own gender as well as the opposite gender? If masculinity was about protecting women in chivalrous fashion so as to avoid the suspicion of being the bad guy and affect the good guy role, savior of the damsels and winner of women’s approval, you’re telling me that male feminists would recognize their own chivalry and deference to women in these debates as sexism? Would they even recognize this dynamic at all if they believed, as many feminists do, that masculinity is conscious of itself and concerned only with power over women at their expense?
“The fact that you associate feminism with ‘men are pigs’ means that you should get a clue. ”
I don’t think so. In fact, that’s pretty much what it boils down to. It hides behind elaborate theoretical tropes, jargon, and abstraction to essentially argue that all men are pigs. See if you don’t get branded an “alt bro,” “brocialist” or “mackivist” “misogynist” “creep” or rape apologist for suggesting such a thing. Indeed, it’s threatening to women and oppressive to even engage with feminism critically at all.
But even if this wasn’t the tripe on offer from academic feminism, it’s certainly the case that the twitter and tumblr feminism that most people identify with the SJW crowd is essentially making this argument. Just because you magnanimously concede the possibility that men might be redeemed from their piggishness if they categorically agree with virtually everything you say or else be suspect really is pretty meaningless.
“I’m male and I have no idea what the hell ‘the male narrative’ is. I can tell you that masculinity is artificial in so far as it is a social construct. After all, some women are masculine and some men are not. ”
Nobody does because we don’t politicize masculinity. A male writer doesn’t think “I am writing a book from a male perspective,” while a female writer often will. This is supposed to be proof of male normativity and a male dominated society, but what it would also mean is that men don’t think about how their relationship to women would shape their self concept.
For instance, we know for a fact that women overwhelmingly choose men who make as much if not more than them for marriage. Married men out earn both women and unmarried men while marriage rates collapse at the bottom end of the socioeconomic spectrum while less so at the top. Yet we’re supposed to believe that the wage gap wouldn’t also be attributable to social pressure women create for men to be breadwinners? Think about how stupid that is.
Women entering the workforce in record numbers in the 1970s wouldn’t have solved this problem but would have compounded it if women still expect provider/breadwinner mates while simultaneously competing with men for the same jobs and driving their wages down. The fact that this could come about and put significant pressure on housseholds, labor, and virtually everyone else while lining corporation’s profits through cheap labor only underscores the extent that bourgeois feminism played useful idiot to neoliberalism. Yet curiously I see no feminist discourse on this. Do you? If so, where?
So what is the working class male narrative in a world where women still tie male worth to social status and professional distinction while men themselves are falling off the map and are estranged from all of societies’ most important institutions, from education, to marriage, to employment? Nobody knows but we can be certain that it’s probably not anything like “life being a video game set to easy.”
You mean to tell me you experience no cognitive dissonance or doubt when you spot a twitter feminist accusing a supposed misogynist of living in his mother’s basement and not having a job in the worst economy since the 1930s? We’re not allowed to consider what that means?
Feminists aren’t particularly interested and I’d say that’s problematic since they claim a monopoly on gender discourse. Indeed, we’re left to believe that all of this. should we even bother to acknowledge it, is the result of “the patrarichy,” which really means that somehow it is something men do to themselves or to one another. There is never a hint of the possibility that women have agency in this regard.
We can never consider the possibility that women create the social landscape in which male identity is formed. We’ll never consider the idea that women create social pressures which shape in an aggregate social sense what masculinity becomes. If you really think about it, that is fucking ridiculous. You’re telling me that there is some feminist discourse somewhere where women consider their own contribution to the very same masculinity they identify as the root of the patriarchy and female oppression? Where is it?
“You made a very strong claim at the end there. I’m sure there were plenty of men who explained to those fighting for women’s rights ‘how they were getting it wrong’. ”
Not really. I’ve given you a few examples. Go ahead and run them by feminists and see what reaction you get. I’ve had endless arguments with feminists about the “male gaze” and “objectification” for instance. They’re still parroting Susan Brownmiller and others who essentially were writing books about their own rape fantasies and attributing them to the patriarchy.
You can find no shortage of feminists 3rd wave or otherwise who still retain the belief that male sexuality is inherently oppressive if it is not the mirror image of female sexuality. Women can’t know what the experience of male heterosexuality is anymore than men could know what the experience of female heterosexuality is. And who would be there to explain it to them? Robert Jensen? I could go on and on.
I find it bizarre that I even have to. And you missed the point about the male narrative. I don’t know it, neither do you. But feminists claim to know it. That is in fact the argument on offer as to why it’s not worth considering the male experience. We’re supposed to have already known it. It’s believed to be all that we know since it is a male dominated society.
“What exactly is ‘Twitter and Tumblr feminism’? Do you just mean ‘things I’ve seen on Twitter and Tumblr that I think are feminist’? Committing the ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy requires a definition of a ‘Scotsman’ to begin with, and I’m pretty sure your definition of feminism is already along the lines of ‘men-hating lynch mob-ism’.
It also seems rather limiting to talk about feminism within the domain of some specific websites. You seem to want to make the biggest inferences from the smallest samples. I bet I could make Anita Sarkeesian say all sorts of things too if I changed a word here and there and give absolutely no context (or even quote a full sentence). It seems you want to seriously argue that assuming that men who support feminism are heterosexuals not wanting to upset their ‘ladies’ is not presumptuous.
Are you seriously complaining that people retaliate when you try to invade their safe spaces? You’re creating a “RAPE APOLOGIST” boogeyman out of it too.
‘For instance, we know for a fact that women overwhelmingly choose men who make as much if not more than them for marriage.’
No, I’m not sure how you know this ‘for a fact’.
I, for one, don’t. I also don’t know why you think social pressures are put on men by women only. They stem directly from gender roles – ‘man of the house’ and whatnot.
‘Yet curiously I see no feminist discourse on this.’
I see no discourse in general that this is what happened. Maybe you can provide some.
There’s a reason why I said your claim is strong. Look at all the things feminism has achieved in history and tell me how they were ‘getting it wrong’.
It makes you look ignorant and it doesn’t help that your entire attitude seems to be ‘but men have problems too’. You keep talking about ‘engaging with feminist ideas’ but I’ve yet to see you even mention any feminist ideas, let alone engage them. Frankly, you haven’t demonstrated that you even know what feminism is. This is not to mention that you have provided zero evidence for your claims.”
“It seems you want to seriously argue that assuming that men who support feminism are heterosexuals not wanting to upset their “ladies” is not presumptuous. Are you seriously complaining that people retaliate when you try to invade their safe spaces? You’re creating a ‘RAPE APOLOGIST’ boogeyman out of it too. ”
Is this argument even for real? Why would their heterosexuality even matter? It’s not relevant since we all are picking up the same assumptions about women, their supposed vulnerability, and whatever else from the same culture. It’s not like a gay or bisexual male is going to be any more comfortable with the label of “rape apologist” or “misogynist.”
What is relevant is that we are socialized with unexamined assumptions about gender. It’s called “sexism” or something. A sexism that we wouldn’t understand because, again, how would we if there hasn’t been a dialogue for the past generation? And there hasn’t.
Again, who would have provided the other side of this dialogue?
The left isn’t going to ask questions about how women contribute to the construction of masculinity for obvious reasons. And I guess the evidence of that is the fact that they haven’t already. And the right wouldn’t provide that side of the dialogue because they aren’t attempting to deconstruct or question masculinity one way or the other but instead attempt to champion it.
“I bet I could make Anita Sarkeesian say all sorts of things too if I changed a word here and there and give absolutely no context (or even quote a full sentence). ”
This completely missed the point. I’m not making her say anything, I’m revealing the logic of what she did say. I’m showing you how it is identical to the bigotry that is common to reactionary bourgeois thinking. What would be the practical difference be if I swap “women” with “the family and children?” None. See?
I didn’t make her say anything, she said it herself. That was the point which you weirdly seem to be twisting yourself into pretzels to avoid even though I’m sure it was obvious. If she said “video games make black men view women as objects they can rape and kill” or if she said “video games make Asian men view women as objects they can rape and kill,” or if she said “video games make men view women as objects they can rape and kill” what would the difference be?
If you want to argue that she never said this or argued it, we’re just being disingenuous. The whole point of virtually every video she’s made is that men are a threat to women and by extension these portrayals of women in video games perpetuate a culture in which men rape and kill women.
Otherwise, why should we give a flying fuck if women are killed in video games if it has no relationship to real world gender relations?
Do you think she was arguing something else? If so, what was it? If you want to pretend that Anita Sarkeesian doesn’t speak for all feminists, I’ll just ask yet again where the feminist criticism of such bigoted bullshit is? I haven’t been able to find it.
If I were a feminist, I might ask questions like “gee, Anita, doesn’t all this suggest that men are raping, violent monsters who need to be carefully policed and controlled lest they rape and kill women? Isn’t that kind of a bigoted idea that really only makes sense in the context of hysterical persecution politics? And aren’t you turning women into damsels in real life while simultaneously complaining about the “trope” in video games? Wouldn’t that be infinitely worse? And isn’t this kind of ridiculous since men are 4 times as likely to be murdered as women, who are themselves possibly the safest demographic that exists? And aren’t you perpetuating an archaic form of sexism that is old as the hills rather than combatting sexism?
That’s what I would ask because, y’know, I fail to see how gender equality or social justice of any kind would be possible if we regarded men this way rather than recognizing that they are human beings with agency and not wild animals. But what do I know?
“No, I’m not sure how you know this ‘for a fact’. I, for one, don’t. I also don’t know why you think social pressures are put on men by women only. They stem directly from gender roles – ‘man of the house’ and whatnot. ”
I’d be happy even for just the admission that women contribute to the construction of masculinity at all. We can’t even get that much out of our supposed “dialogue” on gender, not in 40 years of it. What does that mean? Why don’t we care enough to consider it? I don’t know. Neither does anyone else. I find that pretty curious, but I can see you don’t.
But actually, since you brought it up, it’s entirely possible that there is no masculinity apart from women because our roles aren’t equivalent. Geneticists, for instance, can show that we are descended from twice as many women as men. We know that there is far more variance in reproductive success for men than there is for women. Women are the limiting factor in human reproduction, while men are clearly expendable. In fact, it probably explains the sexual dimorphism of our species, since obviously a tribe short on women or which doesn’t prioritize their health and safety is going to fare worse than the tribe which does since it will limit its ability to reproduce itself.
We’re not talking biological determinism here, we’re simply talking about the material conditions in which human sexuality would have evolved. So really, men are at far greater risk of being weeded out of any given gene pool and we can see that this was overwhelmingly the case for the life our species going back a millennia, so uh… yeah, I think it’s entirely possible that masculinity doesn’t even belong to men to define or redefine.
This is not a determinist crackpot evo-psych argument, since it’s possible for men to define it or for women to, in theory, recognize the social power they have, but none of that would be possible if nobody recognizes that social power or male inability to define masculinity for themselves. It’s entirely possible that when men judge or shame each other, when they judge themselves or adopt identities, that this is really just based on their perception of what women want and expect.
Unlike the majority of women, men don’t have intrinsic value in any given mating pool. So, in the same way that employees can’t dictate to employers what employers want, it would appear that there is some doubt as to if masculinity has any other origin except women’s mating preference.
Even if you yourself didn’t care about it at the time of your socialization, you were socialized among males whose ideas about themselves and you were based on their projections of their insecurities about not being attractive to women. Since most people are heterosexual, it’s really irrelevant if you’re gay, asexual, bi or whatever, since you’re still shaped and affected by the same culture and everything you can possibly know about yourself and others is formed within that context, no?
“There’s a reason why I said your claim is strong. Look at all the things feminism has achieved in history and tell me how they were ‘getting it wrong’.It makes you look ignorant and it doesn’t help that your entire attitude seems to be ‘but men have problems too’. ”
I’m not really sure what it’s achieved. For instance, an antifeminist can ask a question like “does a homeless black man oppress a wealthy white woman?” And the feminist will trot out intersectionality theory, but what he or she will miss is that the wealthy white man who was her husband is only her husband because he was an acceptable mate to her or her family in a hypothetical patriarchy.
Therefore, he is only her mate because he successfully contributed to the very same system which would produce the homeless black man.
So if we consider the economic, political, and social consequences of the social landscape women provide for men, what have they really achieved? The ability to oppress the homeless black guy directly? And since women still marry breadwinners and since men face that social pressure from women, what would it matter if more congressmen or MPs were women as a male dominated government or corporate leadership may very well simply be a measure of male social weakness rather than their power.
Why do we think it’s a privilege to be on the hook for performing economically or else being deemed worthless? Obligations are not privileges. What a ridiculous and simplistic understanding of power to think that it would be measurable by the gender of political representation anyway. That’s laughable and yet feminists have assumed this for decades. It would only make sense if we thought that genders were like social classes when clearly they are not.
We can pretty clearly see that women were always half of society and that far from being oppressed, they had different forms of social power particular to their gender. Ruling class men were part of a ruling class society, half of which was female. Women were always the arbiters of acceptable male behavior and identity. So female ideas about maleness absolutely shape male identity. Do black ideas about whiteness shape white identity? See why we can’t think of genders as though they are classes?
So what have feminists really accomplished other than obscuring this fact and producing a situation in which only male obligations and female privileges specific to their gender remain? Do you think women being CEOs of companies that profit from slave labor under the boot of western backed dictatorships is an accomplishment? Is it an accomplishment to have destroyed the ability of households to stay afloat on a single income? Was it an accomplishment to push lower working class and working class women into low wage professions because their husbands incomes could no longer support a family, even when those women would have preferred a choice? How many of these accomplishments are only accomplishments if we’re looking at it through a bourgeois white woman’s understanding of the world?
“It’s hard to think that you’re being honest here when you’re using terms like “misogynist, fedora wearing creep, the embittered loser who is unattractive to women’. Honestly, I don’t know how you guys get called ‘rape apologist’ and ‘misogynistic’ so easily.
‘We all are picking up the same assumptions about women, their supposed vulnerability, and whatever else from the same culture.’
Do you see why women need to be empowered in our culture?
‘What is relevant is that we are socialized with unexamined assumptions about gender.’
Think about that.
‘Video games make men view women as objects they can rape and kill.’ It looks to me like the blame is on video games rather than men. In fact, everything I’ve heard from Anita has been criticising video games, not men.
I also have no idea where you’re getting this ‘men are wild animals’ shit from. Forgive me if I find ‘it’s entire possible’ arguments and home-cooked psychology unconvincing. Basing your views on this hypothesis is highly suspect, especially since it’s basically an ‘evolutionary conspiracy’.
It’s interesting though; I’ll give you that.
‘For instance, an antifeminist can ask a question like ‘does a homeless black man oppress a wealthy white woman?’
No, but a homeless black woman would certainly have had it much worse, and a wealthy white man would have had it better than a wealthy white woman. Have some control over your variables.
‘We can pretty clearly see that women were always half of society and that far from being oppressed, they had different forms of social power particular to their gender.’
Be ignorant about historical feminism all you want, but you better have some good fucking historical papers to back this view up.
‘Women were always the arbiters of acceptable male behavior and identity.’
Are you telling me most women wanted to be treated as nothing more than sex objects and baby makers for millennia? I can do this shit too: ‘workers were always the arbiters of acceptable working conditions.’ I don’t know why gender and wealth can’t both be sources of inequality.
I suppose by your reasoning black people should stay slaves so they aren’t part of the bourgeoisie and oppressing white working class people. I’ve yet to see a single one of feminist ideas you so like to engage.
Can you please indulge me?”
” Do you see why women need to be empowered in our culture?”
No, but I see why you think they do. I also see why you would go on thinking that no matter what the reality was. Y’know, we’re not hunter gatherers, we have complex social orders. In fact, even hunter gatherers had social orders. What this means is that physical strength doesn’t really equal power. In a society, power goes to whoever has the public perception of moral rectitude.
For instance, Dick Cheney was a fat old man with a heart condition, but nobody would argue that he wasn’t powerful as the American VP, would they? So what about women and empowerment? Are you sure they aren’t already empowered? For instance, why does nobody care about a 30% rise in male suicide rates in one decade but they care about breast cancer awareness? Why was it that people only seemed to notice Boko Haram kidnapping girls but not their murder of boys? Men are far more likely to be victims of violence than women, yet we obsess about women’s safety when they are already the safest demographic that exists.
It would seem to me that in a social order, power would go to those we cared about and advocated for. Wouldn’t it? I’m pretty sure power in a society goes to whoever can get the guys in funny monkey suits with weapons to coerce others on their behalf no? Or do we think power is just having muscles?
Also, how do we know how it went down in hunter gatherer societies? Apparently women weren’t in that much danger, since they were twice as likely to pass on their genes as men were. Why do we think men dragged women by their hair and dominated them? In fact, I think it’s far more likely such behavior would have gotten your head bashed in with a rock by a father or brother, or maybe ostracized which would have meant death. Why couldn’t this have been the case? Because we prefer to think of women as victims in need of our protection against the big bad misogynists and the patriarchy crew?
“‘What is relevant is that we are socialized with unexamined assumptions about gender.’ Think about that.”
I did, but I can’t possibly see how you would have done the same. See, I really thought about it, rather than just defaulting to the women are victims, men are either heroes or victimizers script. Why do you think that this is a progressive view of gender? Isn’t this what people always believed about men and women? Because they always believed it, the feminist damseling of women and refusal to recognize women’s agency in anything doesn’t challenge their archaic, centuries old thinking about gender, but powerfully reinforces their sexism, yeah?
“It looks to me like the blame is on video games rather than men. In fact, everything I’ve heard from Anita has been criticising video games, not men. I also have no idea where you’re getting this “men are wild animals” shit from. ”
I already addressed this. You’re just being purposefully obtuse. Men are not violent raping monsters because they play video games. And if she’s not arguing that video games will make men rape and kill, then, again, why should any of us care?
“Forgive me if I find ‘it’s entire possible’ arguments and home-cooked psychology unconvincing. Basing your views on this hypothesis is highly suspect, especially since it’s basically an ‘evolutionary conspiracy’. It’s interesting though; I’ll give you that. ”
That’s nice. I guess I’d agree with you maybe if you could provide a counter thesis. I guess it’s just “unconvincing,” a gut feeling, intuition maybe. Ok. There’s no evolutionary conspiracy. It’s just what would logically follow from the fact that men can mate many times a day while women have to screen for parental investment. What would logically follow is that all women would have value in an economy of mates, while only some men will. That is a pattern seen elsewhere in other species characterized by what biologists call “female choice,” and all evidence, like the fact that we are descended from twice as many females as males indicates that it’s the same with us, barring external factors.
“No, but a homeless black woman would certainly have had it much worse, and a wealthy white man would have had it better than a wealthy white woman. Have some control over your variables. ”
The homeless black woman might have it worse, although most services are geared towards women. Indeed most homeless people are men. So you’re dead wrong about that. As far as the wealthy white woman having it worse than the man, that’s debatable if it’s the man who doesn’t have options in life while she does.
For instance, she can choose to work or not while he can only work. And this was always the case. Even under Sharia law, a woman’s income is her own while a husband’s belongs to the family. See, men were always expected to take care of women and children and laws always reflected that. Which is why a man at one time could have been punished for the crimes of his wife and so on. Indeed, the whole reason she or her family chose him as a mate is because of his successful contribution to that system.
So all those ruling class men, in order to be socially integrated, made decisions in their life which would put them in a position to qualify as providers. We need only ask what would happen to them if they failed in this. We can look at the long history of forgotten lower class men without stable employment who didn’t mate or who worked themselves to death in dangerous health destroying occupations for the “privilege” of being on the hook to support a wife and children.
Today it is still the case that 90% of workplace injuries and deaths in the United States are experienced by men. I’m sure they work those jobs because they’re patriarchal privileged oppressors. You could in fact make the argument that women of the ruling class were a leisure class, that is if you’re willing to let go of the damsel in distress trope which makes our unexamined chivalry so emotionally satisfying.
When you start to recognize that women always had social power and agency specific to their gender, history looks a lot different.
“Are you telling me most women wanted to be treated as nothing more than sex objects and baby makers for millennia? I can do this shit too: “workers were always the arbiters of acceptable working conditions.”
They were never treated as sex objects anymore than men are treated as mules or units of utility. Why is it worse to be the baby maker than the guy who works to support the baby? And why do we think men chose this situation if women to this day insist on marrying only breadwinners? That is overwhelmingly the case. Unless you have some other explanation for the breakdown of the wage gap.
Would you agree that the drug war is really a race war? It’s always been a way of criminalizing elements of society we disapprove of if we’re racist reactionaries. So, in the U.S., when we needed to criminalize the existence of Mexican immigrants, we associated Marijuana with them and banned it. When we wanted to associate raping white women with amphetamine crazed blacks, we banned cocaine. It’s always been a way of waging war on people we find threatening.
The suffragettes, who were basically bourgeois respectable white women, were the decisive force in getting alcohol prohibited. They were able to do this by holding up the poor, battered damsels as paragons of child like innocence and virtue in contradistinction to the brutish men who drank. These men were of course understood to be working and lower class men, especially immigrants. See how that works?
Women have always been the arbiters of acceptable male behavior and identity. Indeed they are even today, which is precisely why we’re afraid to think of them as anything other than damsels who need us to save them.
It gets a lot more interesting when you start looking at ruling class women’s investment in sexual morality. The further you go down the rabbit hole having taken off the chivalry blinders, the more you begin to realize that.. well… women are people who had historical agency! Isn’t that a crazy thought? It’s almost as if they weren’t children! Wild, eh?
“don’t know why gender and wealth can’t both be sources of inequality. I suppose by your reasoning black people should stay slaves so they aren’t part of the bourgeoisie and oppressing white working class people. ”
Wait, what? First of all, why would the choice be either to enslave others or be slaves themselves? Where was this ever the choice that anyone faced? Second, is your argument that slave masters have no agency or choice? Then why would the white ones have a choice? Third, why wouldn’t we condemn anyone for oppressing anyone else? Isn’t this the radical left? Or did I get lost on my way to Stefan Molyneux’s page. Fourth, gender and wealth are both sources of inequality, but one form of inequality impacts the other form directly. Fifth, you seem to be suggesting that the poor womenfolk were just along for the ride and had no choice, but then neither did their husbands if they were competing for wealth and social status so that they could successfully win their wives and provide for their families.
So who oppressed who?
That last one is easily solved when we recognize that neither gender oppresses the other and that both had forms of privilege and obligation that were specific to them. And if you factor class into it, it becomes clear that the overwhelming majority of men throughout history had just as little choice as their wives, and sometimes much more obligation.
For some weird reason, when you think of men you imagine ruling class men, and when you think of women, you seem to imagine lower class, powerless women. You can’t seem to wrap your head around ruling class women and lower class men. Instead of trying to do it, why not ask the more interesting question which is why I had to ask you to do it in the first place. Why didn’t feminists?
June 21, 2015 § Leave a comment
That isn’t the point of Sarkeesian’s videos. The point of them is that we live in a rape culture and that men are a constant threat to women so they owe women to constantly supplicate and prove they aren’t raping, degenerate, oppressive monsters at all times. The proof that we don’t live in a rape culture is that anyone would take this garbage seriously. Tell me, do you think blacks owe it to white people to prove they are non threatening and not criminals? Do you think the reason crime rates are higher in minority neighborhoods is the result of their “culture?” Listen to yourself.
Replace “women” with “the children” or “the family” and it would be no different than the bigoted scaremongering tripe that comes from the social and religious conservative right. In both cases it’s about demonization and bigotry, not justice, truth, or equality. If right wingers made a series of videos claiming that video games were destroying morality, everybody on the left would snicker. Yet if we replace “the children” with women, you turn into a sanctimonious, unthinking lynch mob.
Time and time again you go out of your way to avoid recognizing the obvious roots of feminism in the moralism of 20th century bourgeois western white women. Appealing to chivalry was always how a ruling class could shame men into wars. It’s always been tied directly to lynch mob persecution, racism, and moral panic. “Street harasser” Emmett Till was lynched by the Klan for whistling at a white woman. What makes you think that your desire to protect the trembling womenfolk and avoid even the most basic critical engagement with feminist theory is any fucking different?
This shit is just embarrassing. You idiots are destroying the left. And you’re taking all those quotes out of context. Nobody in the MRM thinks women or anyone else deserves to be raped, get real. Do you not get that you’re not on the hook to protect women from the boogeymen? That’s chivalry, not equality. Women are adults, not children. Is there ever a point where you start to think of them as such? Protip: Sarkeesian and people like her aren’t criticizing the damsel trope in the rape culture, they are invoking the trope and damseling women in real life.
Statistically speaking, violent crime is higher in minority neighborhoods in the United States. White racists are afraid of blacks and hate them for this very reason. In fact, you could argue that this is all that bigotry really is: the hatred of some group because they make us afraid. As a consequence, bigots always attempt to legislate the group that makes them afraid out of existence.
Marijuana, for instance, was associated with Mexican immigrants menacing white women and subsequently made illegal. Cocaine was associated with blacks menacing white women and was subsequently made illegal. The suffragettes associated drinking alcohol with lower class men who abused their wives and subsequently became the most important force for making it illegal. I hope that we can agree that the drug war is really a race war, an excuse to wage war against groups a dominant society or class disapproves of, so I’m having a hard time seeing the difference between this rhetoric and what feminists are pushing today.
Is it possible that modern feminism is actually a form of bigotry? It’s clearly psychologically identical, and this endless need to police men in public to create “safe spaces” for women really has the sanctimonious, hysterical lynch mob logic of a moral panic, doesn’t it? Are you sure that your seemingly uncritical engagement with feminism isn’t really just a modern form of chivalry?
Are you sure that modern feminism doesn’t unconsciously retain the sexist assumptions that belonged to bourgeois white women of another era? Am I the reactionary, or are you?
Also, the scene in which the woman is catcalled is pretty disingenuous. Nobody is suggesting that women deserve to be cat called for dressing a certain way, but it’s pretty likely that, given that particular neighborhood and the way she was dressed, they probably assumed she was a prostitute.
And of course, you’re right, we don’t know if she would be just as likely to be cat called in a different kind of neighborhood, but then again it should be telling that the producers of the documentary didn’t go to a wealthier neighborhood, now did they? Curious.
In fact, it appears that they dressed a woman in an ultra short skirt and had her walk through an impoverished area where one might go to solicit prostitutes and used the confusion in order to suggest that women should live in fear of evil, “sexually entitled” males.
Are we supposed to believe women that don’t appear to potentially be prostitutes in an area where one might to go purchase sex will get the same reaction? Oh wait, that’s exactly what we’re supposed to believe, and that is what will feed our confirmation bias because we won’t bother to look at it critically because sanctimonious indignation is more emotionally satisfying than figuring out what is true.
Y’know what’s really funny about this video? Its profound and obvious sexism. Of course the idea of women having horrible, inaccurate and bigoted ideas which might have consequences and produce lynch mob persecution politics and moral panic is, well…. funny. Why? Because they’re just powerless girls. To think their ideas could potentially be harmful, oppressive, corrosive or unjust would mean that we actually take their ideas seriously, yeah?
We prefer instead to think of them as powerless damsels. They’re always the good guys or beleaguered underdogs, and any suggestion that they can be something other than this is worthy of a laugh. According to the self proclaimed gender egalitarians. women are apparently made of sugar, spice, and everything nice. Anyone who disagrees wears a fedora and is just mad that he can’t get laid.
Ok, this really isn’t that difficult. What happens to men when they aren’t powerful? What happens to them when they don’t have gainful employment, for instance, or social status that comes with education? How do women treat them? See?
Could that be the root of “male power?” Why would anybody care about power in the first place unless they perceived the possibility of powerlessness, and what is a male who doesn’t successfully compete for social status and wealth if not powerless where women are concerned? You can’t see that this is a female specific and profound form of social power?
Hurrr hurrr could that be the root of the patriarchy? You’re not so blinded by your desire to be acceptable to women or your fear of being seen as a fedora wearing, embittered “creep” that you can’t see that women own masculinity, not men. Masculinity doesn’t belong to men to define or redefine, since it is men who face the risk of being weeded out of the gene pool, not women. Men don’t get to decide what women want and expect of them.
Is it possible that they aren’t the trembling damsels you thought they were, social justice guy who can’t recognize how chivalry and patriarchy are linked?
We’re descended from twice as many females as males. Reproductive success for men has always been far more variant than it is for women. The very same masculinity you identify as the root of female oppression is only a reflection of women’s sexual choices. It is the competition for mates which draws men into social and economic competition, they do this to win the approval of the highest quality females, or more likely, to avoid being weeded out entirely.
That is the origin of surplus production, property relations, class and class antagonism, nation states, capitalism, slavery, genocide, and war. Men don’t die by the millions in wars after being shamed into the heroic ideal in order to protect women and children from whatever boogeyman or destroy their health in hard labor occupations because they are “privileged,” genius.
Women, by all honest and rational accounts, are and have always been a bourgeoisie couched within the bourgeoisie. Women aren’t oppressed by society, they are society. Their value isn’t in question, it never was. Yours is. Nobody will admonish women for not being “real women” and “womaning up.” Society cares about the lives of women, not men. We’re disposable workhorses and scapegoats.
Surely a fucking socialist can see that it is patently absurd to take bourgeois privileged white woman’s characterization of the “power” and “privilege” of the tiny elite of bourgeois men as indicative of the lives of all men while at the same time trying to hide behind the interests of working class women who they couldn’t give a flying fuck about. And they don’t.
Or did you not notice that women entering the workforce en masse in the late 1970s helped to depress wages and break labor? That’s progress? I guess a privileged white woman who obsesses about “manspreading” and female representation in shitty tv shows might think so. Did you really get hoodwinked into defending this shit because you’re this unable to engage with feminism critically? That’s embarrassing.
Gee, didn’t you ever notice the inconsistency in feminists shaming men for being unemployed and living with their parents whenever those men happened to level criticism at them? That’s the left? Grow up, junior. You’re nobody’s hero and women appreciate your defense of them a lot less than you think.
People like Sam Harris rail against religion while acting as apologist for “humanitarian intervention,” or the modern version of white man’s burden, as if nationalism which justifies the genocide, repression, war, and proxy dictatorship of imperialism in the name of “progress” and “development” isn’t a knuckle dragging death cult. Most thinking people figured out that god doesn’t exist in 7th or 8th grade. Move on.
Also. calling men “pussies” doesn’t demean cis women, it demeans men, meaning that men, unlike women, have to prove they are men. In other words, their acceptability to society (which includes both men and women) is conditional whereas this is not the case for women. Women apparently have value and a place in society simply by virtue of the fact that they exist.
I didn’t realize the obligation to prove you’re a man is a privilege. I didn’t know obligations were privileges.
What’s more, I’m pretty certain women are allowed to be women. Nobody demeans a woman for being a woman except feminists and possibly some religious conservatives, depending on your point of view, but that shouldn’t be surprising since their backward method of reasoning about the world is identical. Historical idealism always ends in bigotry and persecution politics.
Isn’t the benevolent sexism of left wing pandering to the damsels, most of which are bourgeois white women, obviously a form of chivalry? I don’t understand how you equate this with “equality.” If you’re going to tie legitimate criticisms of capitalism to this bourgeois white woman’s understanding of “gender equality,” you might as well be a recruiter for reactionaries who will con downwardly mobile working class men into insulating the owners of capital from the prospect of worker revolt because you better believe that their inability to start or support families and generally meet women’s expectations of them is the single biggest thing that colors their interpretation of current events and of ideology.
Or did you not realize that it is women who decide what masculinity is yet? That is after all why married men out earn both women and unmarried men. It’s because women have decided that “being a man” means making as much if not more than them. So much for that equality shit, I guess. Oh, I’m sorry, you’re too worried about people thinking you’re a fedora wearing, embittered, ancap misogynist who can’t get laid to consider these questions. The truth is scary if it means it might make us unacceptable to women. Imagine taking women’s ideas seriously enough to critique them. Crazy, right?
June 19, 2015 § 1 Comment
It’s pretty unwise to reveal your real identity. We don’t live in a free and civil society where open debate is possible. We all know this. The sad fact is that we still conflate women with children. Women themselves do this without even realizing it. Offending them and being accused of “misogyny” is somewhere on a continuum with being accused of rape, domestic violence, etc. You can lose your job and be persecuted in any number of other ways because the gut instinct of most people is to protect women and provide excuses for them in precisely the way we would for children.
I don’t agree that women are inherently evil. I think they’re just as capable of moral agency and ethical responsibility as men are, but they aren’t socialized in a culture which demands this of them. Many women have no idea what these things even mean because the entire culture is about deferring to them and pandering to their almighty incoherent feelings, and you can observe this when you see how quickly a woman will resort to violence, for instance.
Women will hit men in public because they are free to do so. They don’t have a conception of moral agency the way men do and this is the result of their social conditioning. And they’ll do this for the same reason they will lie about sexual harassment and get you fired or accuse you of child abuse to win custody. It’s the same reason they will lie and emotionally manipulate you in a relationship, take you for everything you have, cheat on you, and all the rest of it. They’re inwardly focused, not outwardly focused, it’s her feelings which are reality, not yours. Everything she thinks, feels, and does is excused away by a gynocentric society which provides ready-made rationalizations. She doesn’t even have to hamster it away, society does it for her. What kind of moral agency does a person like this have? None.
I think they are capable of that agency, and to that degree, I agree with JtO, that women aren’t evil by nature, as if this is the only possible way they could be due to some mysterious biological inferiority. But, in the current culture such as it is, can they be expected to act responsibly? Absolutely not.
While I think women are capable of much more, if somebody asked me if it was a good idea to just assume that women are evil and act accordingly, I’d say “yes.” It’s better to err on the side of caution. MGTOW, above all else, is about self preservation, not social change.
On the issue of evolutionary psychology, in many ways, it’s irrelevant.
I studied international relations theory and the whole idea was to abstract from history universal, regularly occurring laws which would allow us to construct models of rational choice, models that would lend themselves to real world policy making. In other words, we were trying to come up with models of rational choice to predict behavior or the way institutions adopt policy or how they interpret national interest.
Let’s assume that it’s possible to come up with a model of rational choice which would predict within whatever range of probability an actor’s choices in a given scenario, or “game” as game theorists call it. All the actor would have to do is *know* what the model predicts in order to thwart it. All that is required to invalidate the model is to choose a different choice based on his or her knowledge of what the model would predict.
That’s the problem in a nutshell. Human beings are self aware and make decisions based on belief, and the foundation of belief is *knowledge.* In this case, knowledge of the model which predicts choice, but this dynamic is present in any possible case.
So the question of “free will” with respect to deterministic models of social science becomes irrelevant if you recognize that *knowledge* is the precondition of choice and therefore of the exercise of will. A person cannot be expected to make a rational choice without access to sufficient information. How can they make a choice one way or the other if they aren’t even aware of the possible choices and their respective potential rewards or consequences? Indeed, the chooser, for our purposes, may not even be aware that they are choosing or that there is any possible choice that is available. There is no choice, and therefore will, free or otherwise, which is not contingent upon knowledge.
Women, like men, and like entire societies, can be expected to behave in ways that reflect their sociobiologically rooted natures and history will “rhyme,” rather than repeat itself, as Mark Twain said. But this is only true so long as people are unaware of how it rhymes and why it does. The moment they become aware of their natures, both of their own and the nature of others (like women), they then have the opportunity to break the historical or social pattern.
Women are perfectly capable of understanding, of self awareness and awareness of others, in short, they are capable of precisely this kind of knowledge. This is, above all else, what makes women, like men, human. This is our defining characteristic as a species. Because they are capable of this, their behaviors can’t be reducible to some mechanistic evo-psych model of behavior, as if women are robots running a script.
But with all that said, history still “rhymes,” and there is a female nature which can be understood and anticipated precisely because, as it stands currently, most women are not aware of themselves. This is precisely why it’s important not to throw the evo-psych baby out with the bathwater.
June 15, 2015 § 1 Comment
It’s actually a shame that libertarians in the manosphere so often confuse Marxism and what they call “cultural Marxism,” because, weirdly enough, Marx’s theoretical framework actually provides a pretty elegant and compelling explanation for what the blue and red pills are.
As Althusser explained, “ideology is your imagined relationship to your actual conditions of existence.” I can’t think of a better description of the blue pill. An argument could be made that the blue pill was Marx’s “superstructure of belief” which once explained your experience of biological and material reality, or what he called “the material base.” The blue pill was simply yesterday’s superstructure which explained your experience of gender and the sexual market place.
According to Marx, we participate in a system in which our basic needs are met, but what we believe about that system will always be at odds with what is objectively true about it. This is how it must be since at no time can we ever have perfect and complete knowledge which would entirely explain a given social arrangement. To do so would make us omnipotent. We participate in a wider system at all times whose big picture is never fully comprehended, not by anyone. Instead of actually understanding it, we have an abstract map of our social universe which we confuse with our actual social universe.
We could call this “ideology.” It is a representation of reality that we confuse with reality itself in much the same way that we might confuse a trompe l’oeil painting of a window with an actual window if we viewed it from far away. If this seems reminiscent of the allegory of the cave and the prisoners who confuse the shadows on the wall with the things which cast them, that’s because, in my interpretation, they describe precisely the same thing.
Since the means of production and everything else which conditions our actual and immediate experiences of biological and material reality will evolve and change, our beliefs about it will veer further and further from the underlying reality until the point where our abstract map can no longer adequately explain our experiences or provide a means for us to integrate successfully and have our needs met. At this point, revolution, of whatever kind, becomes “inevitable.”
Think about what the blue pill provider ideal is like for the chump who buys into it. Think back to the experience of your own conditioning. He experiences an actual objectively quantifiable relationship both to women and to the wider society in which he participates, but that actual condition is obscured behind the screen of ideology. All his experiences are contextualized according to cultural myth and an elaborate system of ready-made rationalizations, and this provides not only an explanation for what he experiences, but an explanation of who he is in relation to it. It supplies him with a set of socially acceptable identities and this structures his entire life. He’s like the proverbial fish in water who doesn’t know it’s in water because it’s never left the pond. He is the prisoner in the cave who has never turned his head around and so he never suspects that the shadows are not the real itself, but the artifacts of the socially constructed models of reality.
Ideology or the superstructure of belief, we accept Althusser’s definition, is never recognized as ideology by the ideologue, but is mistaken for reality itself. It is not a system of normative ethical doctrines or conscious beliefs, but quite the opposite. It’s not the beliefs he has consciously and deliberately chosen by way of reason, but the unexamined and unnoticed background against which those conscious beliefs were adopted. It’s what he takes for granted and assumes to be “real,” meaning that it is never questioned or noticed at all. It is the foundation on which his conscious beliefs are adopted, or maybe we could say that his conscious beliefs, opinions, convictions and so on are predicated and determined by ideology.
For men in a modern post-industrial and contraceptive revolution West to begin to question their conditioning and their previous understanding of themselves and women is really no different than the emerging proto capitalist middle class of feudal Europe who, having over generations evolved from serfs to prosperous yeomen to merchants and property holders, finally came to realize that their theology which had once explained their condition as a serf could no longer adequately explain their new reality as merchants. The protestant reformation attempted to reinterpret Christian theology in a way that would accord with their new interests and experiences. The superstructure of belief which had explained feudalism had to be revised in order to explain an emerging capitalist political and social modernity. It’s the same shit.
Marx’s theory of the superstructure, if we dispense with some of its more questionable particulars, coincides nicely with Platonic epistemology contra Aristotle (and thus Randian) epistemology as well.
What do women and relationships look like to a blue piller? He experiences them directly, a la Aristotelian epistemology, so he must know women and relationships for what they truly are.
Or could we say that the blue piller experiences, not women and relationships, but their shadows, a la Platonic epistemology? Plato is arguing that the red pill exists and can be taken, the actual woman can be known once the woman he experiences is recognized as an abstract shadow which he mistook for the actual woman. Aristotle, or somebody like wittegenstein, is arguing that the only woman that exists is the one the blue piller experienced. There is no red pill to take.
In the example I’ve given you, is the red pill sensory or non-sensory?
The point here is that you never experience reality directly, you only get an image of it, reality’s recreation by your senses which appears on the stage of your mind, a representation of reality, not reality itself, at least to the extent that it is merely seen rather than understood. It is partially seen and partially understood. Outside of the cave we find the forms, or abstract patterns which explain the seen, inside the cave we find the shadows, which are what is seen but not understood. Everything we behold is the synthesis of seen and understood, a contradiction, or two opposing dialectical opposites collapsed into one space when the synthesis, or phenomena, is confused with the reality it represents, or noumena.
Look at an optical illusion like an the image of the old woman that is simultaneously the young woman. If you hadn’t seen the old woman or the young woman, think about what happened there. The illusion isn’t in your eyes, but in your brain. It’s a logical illusion, not an optical one. What you *understood* limited and determined what you could *see* in physical reality either on a page or on your computer screen. You had to understand the image before you could see it for what it was. That is how only one woman can appear at first and not the other.
Well it’s the same for blue pill experiences of women. To have relationships with them but to view them through blue pill conditioning is to only see the old woman without suspecting the young woman is there. What you understand limits and determines what you can see and therefore experience. If what is actually there is never seen by anyone because it is not understood, like prisoners in the cave who know only the shadows and can never turn their heads around, then for all intents and purposes, we would never know it exists, the shadows of women or anything else would be mistaken for reality. But the reality exists all the same and can be known even if nobody ever knows it.
So how could we argue, as Aristotle (or Ayn Rand) does, that concepts are intrinsically a derivative of reality? Reality itself cannot even be seen, let alone known, without an a priori conceptual framework. Sense data is organized into a pattern of information by the machinery of consciousness. It’s a version of reality that humans get, not reality itself. Reality as we are capable of experiencing it begins as much in the mind which attempts to perceive it as it does in the world external to the mind. All that we experience as it is experienced does not begin outside of the mind or inside of it, but rather is what emerges out of the interaction of mind and the world it perceives. Experience, of women or anything else, is thus an emergent property of the relationship between what is perceived and the faculty of consciousness which perceives it.
June 15, 2015 § Leave a comment
Even while I often find myself disagreeing with her, I think Diana Davidson’s videos are excellent and she always offers up great food for thought. This was my response to the above linked video:
The reason western society has embraced feminism is because it doesn’t actually challenge our ideas about gender but powerfully reenforces archaic and centuries old ideas we’ve always had. Men are now and were always on the hook to prove they are the good guys, saviors of the damsels from the bad guys. It’s just the new version of chivalry.
All that has changed is the set of requirements that men must meet in order to prove they are acceptable to women. Now they adhere to some incoherent conception of “equality” whereas before they adhered to a far more coherent conception of their role as protector and provider. To defer to women, their victimhood, the necessity of their equality socially and legally etc., is just the new way of paying deference to women in general. To fail to do it makes you one of the shameful bad guys who women disapprove of rather than the prideful good guy who women approve of. I don’t think it’s really so complicated. It’s just chivalry 2.0.
The reason feminists don’t recognize this is because they’re idiots who never actually uprooted their own assumptions about gender, not in 40 years of “scholarship.” Susan Brownmiller thought her own sexuality was constructed by the patriarchy. If you reverse a lot of 3rd wave feminist arguments and conclusions, you’ll see that they actually rest on this unexamined assumption which they inherited from second wave feminism. It’s not “post modernism,” it’s just shitty scholarship and unimaginative analysis.
As far as Dennett’s critique of post modernism goes, I hesitate to use the word “stupid,” but that’s pretty much what it is. It’s based on a strawman argument. There is no post modern critique which claims that there is no truth. Post modernism attempts to account for how meaning is produced, it is not the contention that there is no possible meaning. It’s the difference between what Kant called noumena, which is reality as it is, and phenomena, which is reality as it appears to human consciousness, or what is possible for us to know about it.
We know that reality is colored by the medium through which it reaches consciousness. Consciousness, including our faculty of reason, itself is an evolutionary adaptation, so the bounds of human consciousness – meaning not only what we know but what is possible for us to know – are defined by whatever selection pressures shaped it. We will see as much of reality as was required for us to go on procreating and surviving. In other words, we see appearance of the real as distinct from the real itself.
It’s the same way that we might say that an image of what is real will look different depending on the camera, film stock, codec, or lens that we used to record it – the medium is the message, or at the very least, one cannot be easily separated from the other.
These observations and questions are as old as philosophy, (literally, the Theaetetus asks these precise questions and it is 2500 years old) so to brand any attempt to ask them, or to reconsider the foundation of the philosophy of science, as “post modernism” and then to further link these questions to feminist assumptions that everything is culturally constructed is embarrassingly stupid and just flat out disingenuous.
Post modern critiques don’t assert that there is no truth which can be known, but only that we likely don’t know it and might not ever be able to know it. There is nothing inherently left wing or feminist about any of this.
What does “distrust of truth” mean? Because I’m pretty sure distrust of what we claim is the truth is the assumption of falsifiability, the fundamental assumption of skepticism, the rejection of which would lead us inexorably to religious faith and dogma. There is no “The Truth” so far as science is concerned as it is practiced, there are only competing and falsifiable explanations for what is empirically verifiable, each of which has only lesser or greater degrees of explanatory power.
This is a relatively uncontroversial characterization of the current scientific method. All theory is falsifiable or it is not by definition scientific. Surely Mr. Dennett understands that much. To bring this method of inquiry to questions of consciousness and to appraisals of the scientific method (or of historical interpretation) is just the logical conclusion of science itself and is, at any rate, demanded by the dictates of reason and rational inquiry.
As it turns out, scientists may actually have to go the “whole hog” if they want to uncover the truth, or Truth, of what it is that they’re studying. Where does quantum physics, for instance, go from here when it has to contend with a particle appearing to be in two places at once and when it can’t discern how a particle will behave when we aren’t looking at it?
If you don’t care about these epistemological questions, consider how important they are to gender. It could be argued that the blue pill was really a Gettier problem, or, if you like, a Gettier problem in reverse:
Our experiences were contextualized in a particular way so that reality appeared to corroborate their contextualization and vice versa, thus we believed we had “knowledge” of the set of beliefs we now identify with the blue pill. If we lived our whole lives as workhorses for solipsistic and manipulative children but none of us ever knew it or even suspected it, then we were never workhorses for solipsistic manipulative children.