feminism

Backward Causality and the Current Year

One of the best things about getting older is that the “amusement quotient” increases, almost geometrically.

So now the “1900s” is so  long ago that it’s not really relevant to 2017, which presumably sprang sui generis from the Womyn’s Studies department of a $50,000 a year liberal arts college. (more…)

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Their works will come to nothing

The anti-politics side of neoreaction is hard for people to grasp in our current context. People tend to think of good things as resulting from some kind of activist energy bringing it together. The opposite of this do-somethingism is neoreaction’s passivism, its belief in entropy:  things will inevitably flow a certain way if the foot is taken off the gas.

For example, subsidies for single mothers and no-fault divorce hold together the ~70 percent single motherhood rate in parts of Northeast DC, where I live. This is the closest thing to a smashed patriarchy we have – it’s dented at the very least.

Without such political energy, as well as the not-strictly-political but still irrational cultural trends like alternative family structures being fashionable, this all falls apart. Reality comes crashing, and people are forced to rediscover healthy family structures. The fact remains, however: social entropy can’t be beaten. A return to patriarchy only requires a relief from politics and the (probably painful) correction that follows.

White males have high-paid Silicon Valley jobs in the absence of this kind of energy. All they had to do was be smart, be productive and mind their own business. This naturally makes the blood of New York Magazine types boil, so now we have the #WomenInTech meme to try to remedy this supposedly horrible state of affairs.

“Diversity consultant” is a thing, by the way. But the tech industry was booming before we had people who supplicate the equality spirits for a living, and it will probably continue to boom when they’re gone. Rule of thumb: if your need a hashtag to continue your existence, you aren’t going to exist for long. Capitalists like bragging to their friends about their investments supporting the things we’re supposed to be down with, but even more than that they like their investments making money. The folly of this line of attack can be generalized to all activism:  it’s just an appeal to the sentiments of the powerful.

Few of them will admit it, but the social order that left-wingers prefer is held together by smashy energy that is fighting a Sisyphean uphill battle.

We can see a pretty successful attempt to smash capitalism in Venezuela – we know it’s successful because the government has smashed capitalism so thoroughly that it can’t even supply toilet paper to their citizens. They even tried extending their smashing to the subsequent breadlines by pulling people out of them based on numbers on their ID cards.

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No, women shouldn’t have to sign up for Selective Service (or fight in war!)

Feminists, rejoice!

Horace’s dictum, “dulce et decorum est pro patria mori” will soon no longer be exclusive to American males. Sometime in the near-future, women will have the honor of being forced to leave their families, enter bullet-ridden battlefields, and risk having their limbs blown apart.

Surely, Virginia Woolf is cheering in her grave.

Last week, the chief of staff of the Army and the Marine Corps commandant came out in favor of lifting the exclusion of women from the Selective Service. Speaking before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Gen. Robert Neller, the highest ranking U.S. Marine Corps member, told lawmakers, “it’s my personal view that, based on this lifting of restrictions… every American who’s physically qualified should register for the draft.”

Congress must act to lift the males-only condition for Selective Service. But is there any doubt this will eventually happen? In the name of equality, Democrats will joyfully embrace the proposition. Republicans are already coming around: A bill to lift the female draft restriction was just introduced in the House of Representatives by two GOP reps who also served in the armed forces.

It’s only a matter of time before girls, upon turning 18, sign up for the draft. And just like that, we will have slipped further into the brave new world where men and women are interchangeable cogs in the machine of society.

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There is no such thing as left-wing dissent

If we grant that the definition of dissent is the holding of a belief that is contrary to the prevailing ideology, then it’s not particularly difficult to categorize instances of such dissent.

A good metric to measure it by is the magnitude of social penalties paid for by expressing potentially dissident beliefs. Can you lose your position at a company that you yourself started over the beliefs that you express? You are probably engaging in genuine dissent. This happened to Brendan Eich at Mozilla when he donated $1,000 to an advocacy organization that had Barack Obama’s 2008 opinion on traditional marriage. Something similar happened to Pax Dickinson for making crude and heterodox tweets about women in tech.

However crude the boundaries are, it should be easy to see what cannot belong in the category. It’s hard to think of a situation where holding left-wing beliefs, no matter how left-wing they are, would get someone removed from an an organization that is not itself expressly right-wing.

I can, however, think of examples where lefties didn’t get shitcanned. In 2001, Ward Churchill, a UC Boulder professor, literally argued that financial workers killed in the 9/11 attacks had it coming. Adam Kotsko, another academic, had similar sentiments about the Charlie Hebdo attacks: the people at the newspaper were insensitive to Muslims and therefore deserved to die.

“Can it get you fired?” is by no means a necessary element when looking to categorize something as dissent, but it’s a pretty good barometer for the climate of official ideology; that is, the underpinnings of polite culture that we’re expected believe. Both of these men, of course, made waves. There was a lot of outcry, and Kotsko eventually deleted his Twitter account, but neither of them suffered real material setbacks. Unpopularity is not dissent. I don’t suffer consequences for thinking that Drake is a bad rapper.

So it’s clear that official ideology is not democratic: right-wingers get fired for expressing even mainstream opinions, left-wingers do no get fired for expressing universally revolting opinions. Most Americans probably do not want gay marriage, but that belief system doesn’t use the ideological assumptions that it is supposed to. Churchill’s 9/11 apologia, however, was underpinned by the belief that there is Wall Street imperialism in the third world and that it such a thing is bad. This is firmly in line with with the ideological assumptions of powerful cultural institutions. So is Kotsko’s belief that racism is an insurmountable evil.

The pseudo-dissent that leftists engage in is merely a demand to extend official ideology and praxis. If we’re sitting somewhere around 6 on the Official Ideology Scale, the supposed dissent of the left is just a petition to crank it up to 11.

The FBI officially makes it its business to infiltrate and disrupt white supremacist organizations, and fashionable Black Lives Matter types like Ta-Nehisi Coates are also in the business of trying to dismantle white supremacy. There’s a difference, of course, of where exactly they think borders of white supremacist ideology starts and ends, but this is a question of magnitude, not a question of principles.

Black Lives Matter is a particularly pertinent example because such activists are supposedly fighting against “systemic racism” that is working around the clock to destroy them. The veil is pulled back when we actually look at the casualness of these protests. There are no long-term legal consequences for anyone hunting for the white supremacist witch, much less social penalties. If anything, you can gain social credit by bragging to your middle-class friends about being on, like, the Right Side of History.

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“That’s gross,” and other hedonic considerations

You may be familiar with Truffaut’s famous quote, “there’s no such thing as an anti-war film,” which captures the quandry of inadvertently glorifying war by giving it a cinematic representation. I think this is quote is better rendered the more general a “there is no such thing as an anti-hedonistic film.” Or at least it’s really hard. Cinema is an engaging sensory experience, and good and bad are most easily expressed through an engagement of appreciation or an engagement of revulsion. This convention obviously extends beyond movies and into media like books, and it was in fact a book that I read recently that got me thinking about this whole thing.

For anyone who thinks I don’t give feminism a fair shake, I will have you know that I’ve read the radical feminist sci-fi novel Woman on the Edge of Time. On a related note, I have black friends. Anyway, the short of it is that in the novel there’s two potential futures presented to the 1970’s present-day heroine. The first is a Marxist pastoral “utopia” in which gender has been essentially been abolished through Brave New World-like biotechnology. Pretty creepy, but that’s a discussion for another article.

The second future is a hellish capitalist dystopia, where most people are part of a slave-like underclass that are little more than walking organ banks for the rich elite. Women are, of course, particularly oppressed, being kept as ignoramuses who are only valued for their appearance  they are surgically modified to have grotesquely exaggerated sexual characteristics. The grotesqueness is really driven home to let the reader feel just how bad this potential future really is.

Is sickening excess the logical consequence of our unchained material appetites? Of course it isn’t  actual hedonism, by definition, always finds the sweet spot. Excess is, by definition, anti-hedonic. Intentionally eating so much cake to become nauseous isn’t something that people do. Similarly, people find cartoonishly enhanced women revolting; if they didn’t, the author wouldn’t be able to use such a thing as a cautionary tale to scare the reader straight. Showing good or bad in terms of the hedonic calculus is easy, but you can’t have it as both terrifyingly revolting and believably alluring.

Perhaps it is, then, a cautionary tale against changing social norms of the grotesque? Even so, we would need to establish a moral standard outside of “appreciation vs. revulsion” to say that this change of taste is more than merely a value neutral disjunction between our revulsion and their appreciation. After all, the supposed utopia is just as radically different from our current cultural standards as the dystopia is.

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Stand up, and do what exactly?

Remember #BringBackOurGirls? The short-lived social awareness campaign to rescue hundreds of abducted girls in Nigeria has long petered out. For a brief moment earlier this year, the world focused on the plight of innocent girls kidnapped by the Islamic radical group Boko Haram. Even the First Lady joined in the crusade. Millions of Facebook and Twitter messages later, and we’re nowhere close to bringing back our girls. The campaign was high on emotion and low on substance; the perfect reflection of our tech-obsessed, low attention span culture.

Mollie Hemingway should understand this. Normally, The Federalist contributor is a thoughtful writer with an agreeable view on culture, politics, and personal relations. In the post-Christian era where traditional distinctions are blurred more than ever, she provides some sanity to combat the forces of relativism.

But in a recent piece, Hemingway displays an angry frustration with the feminist cyberwarriors that have been hogging so much of the media spotlight. Topic of her disgust: the radical feminine vitriol aimed at shabby dresser Dr. Matt Taylor. After successfully landing a spacecraft on a comet 310 million miles from Earth, Taylor was chastised for wearing a bowling-style shirt embellished with scantily-clad women. A slur of insults and death threats followed. Even science-loving women were offended by the apparel.

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