man up

October 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

Feminists tell men to “man up.”  Right wingers tell the poor and labor to “man up.”  My views are consistent.  So far as I can tell, I’m the only one that can say that.

Here’s a brief back and forth with Raging Golden Eagle.  Just for the record, I’m subscribed to his channel and enjoy his videos very much.  I think he’s usually on point, at least when it comes to bashing feminism.

I said:

Feminists tell men to man up. Right wingers tell the poor and labor to man up. Do I have this right?

He said:

“If you want something, you need to work at it yourself and can’t rely on anyone else to give it to you.”

I responded:

I don’t think anyone disagrees.  Nobody on the left actually disagrees except feminists, and this actually makes them no different than women generally, even ones who aren’t on the left.  All women expect free shit because they’re women. It’s not actually a feature of left wing politics. Not even radical anticapitalist left wing politics. Even Karl Marx said “from each according to his ability, to each according to his need.”  He didn’t say “sit around and get free shit.”  As for the rest of the left, they were only ever talking about equality of opportunity.

On a related note, notice that nobody on the left uses the word “entitlement” other than feminists. Virtually all conservatives use the word. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if feminists don’t have more in common with work-or-starve “personal responsiblity” “man up” conservativism than they do anyone else on the left.

Then he followed it up with:

“Oooo, may as well try one myself.  Feminists tell men that they need to use their power and privilege for the sake of women (he for she anyone?).  Left wingers tell those who worked for what they own that they need to use it for those who have less than them.  Do I have this right? Do you see how stupid such a comparison is?”

I responded:

No, you don’t have it right. It’s more like left wingers ask why those who work don’t have anything to show for it. You’d think that people like yourself who claim to care about work and believe in work ethic so much would be asking the same question.

“Do you see how stupid such a comparison is?”

No, I don’t.

He said:

“Clearly.  It does explain a lot.  Do you think men are obligated to take care of women because they are stronger and more capable?  Do you think the haves are obligated to take care of the have nots?  Unless you give the same answer to each one, you are suffering from some hardcore cognitive dissonance.

Just because you “work hard” doesn’t make you entitled to anything.  I “worked hard” when I was at an under staffed burger king, but I understood that the work I was doing could be done by any random person pulled off the street, and because of that wasn’t worth much.  Hard work just for hard work’s sake is for suckers.  You have to work hard at something you know will give you a better return.  Otherwise you are just spinning your wheels.  The car going at max RPM spinning its tires in mud is not entitled to get anywhere…”

My response:

“Clearly.  It does explain a lot.  Do you think men are obligated to take care of women because they are stronger and more capable?”

No I think that any society is a division of labor where people are specialized, and because they are, they depend on one another and on wider institutional structures to survive.  Some of those structures necessarily are public ones.  They aren’t goods, they are capital goods, meaning goods we consume in order to make goods.

Without access to capital, there is no capitalism.  Without access to capital goods, there are no goods.

So it’s really not a question of fairness or this dopey Dr. Phil moral bullshit, it’s really just a question of pragmatic policy outcomes because we aren’t hunter gatherers or pioneers in the middle of the wilderness.  We’re members of complex, technologically advanced societies.

Even hunter gatherers had some concept of public capital goods, now that I think of it.

So none of this is about anyone being obligated to take care of anyone.  It’s about everyone being obligated to themselves to do what is necessary to maintain a civil society where work is meaningful, productive, useful, and allows people to take care of themselves.

You think about it in terms of fairness.  I think about it in terms of reality.  Do you think reality should be an important consideration in public policy?  Or should we subordinate it all to mystical fairness doctrines based on nothing but our feelz?

That’s what this is about, isn’t it?  Your feelz?  What you think is fair?  How you feel about paying taxes to support people you don’t like?

“Do you think the haves are obligated to take care of the have nots?  Unless you give the same answer to each one, you are suffering from some hardcore cognitive dissonance.”

I already addressed this, did I not?

The thing is, you’re not really taking care of anyone but yourself, because in the real world, in a failing economic system, people don’t just go off to a field to die quietly while castigating themselves for being unworthy or undeserving.  Crack a history book and observe.  Again, shouldn’t reality be an important consideration in public policy?  How much is a civil society worth?

” I “worked hard” when I was at an under staffed burger king, but I understood that the work I was doing could be done by any random person pulled off the street, and because of that wasn’t worth much. ”

I’m assuming you’re educated and reasonably competent, so surely you can read a graph and see that the minimum wage, adjusted for inflation, is worth about as much as it was in the 1960s, while cost of necessities like housing, education, and tuition have outpaced inflation.  And all this while corporate profit and productivity is through roof, which is curious, considering that real wages across the board have stagnated or declined except for a shrinking portion of the population.  That’s been the case for 30 years.

So, if work, regardless if it is hard work or smart work, paid, if it was really a matter of the magical, mystical free market god rewarding the hard or smart working and punishing the lazy and unproductive, then clearly an astronomically more productive work force should be rolling in cash, so… what gives?

” Hard work just for hard work’s sake is for suckers.  You have to work hard at something you know will give you a better return.”

Even among STEM majors unemployment is at historic highs.  You can get a Chinese engineer for 20k a year now, and he won’t come saddled with student debt.

The bottom line is that work – any work – increasingly doesn’t pay because you have a failing economic system.  So, that’s that.  It’s really time to get realistic about it and realize that we’re not going to live in a Mad Max movie because somebody is pissed off about paying taxes.  Besides, your tax dollars aren’t going to welfare queens and losers, but to defense contractors who buy your legislature anyway.

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