Monthly Archives: December 2015

An anti-Feminist speaks to an anti-anti-Feminist

You’ve misrepresented the anti-Feminism stance, and the intentions behind those who advocate behind the acceptance of Feminist ideas. You further, while claiming to not allow others to define what Feminism is “for you,” attempt to redefine it for others.

Stop trying to “define” Feminism. Look at what it is before attempting to provide a short-hand verbal pointer to it. Like most Feminists, you seem to have started with a definition, and worked your way backwards to fill the word with your best intentions. A better way to approach it is to first observe what it is then to clinically describe what is before you, rather than projecting your intentions and value judgements on and into it.

You claim that Feminism, the body of claims, diagnoses and prescriptions of how the species behaves at a social level is in line with the general notion of well-educated benevolence, impartiality and fairness. The contents of Feminism do not promote the fair and impartial treatment of all people. It promotes the resolution of issues for women (and eventually other groups) that are ascribed to “oppression” or “subjugation.” Please look those words up, try to understand what the words are pointing to as actual physical occurrences and events and see if the matches are legitimate. I believe that if you are genuinely impartial, you will find that they do not for a) all people, b) en masse for a women or “minority groups” or or c) accurately match the intended meaning, which in most cases is “grievance” or “complaint.”

Where once the women’s movement focussed on resolving specific grievances that women experienced in the wealthier parts of the world (without attending to those of other groups) latter generations have sought to explain the whys and hows, and have constructed a mental and eventually political framework of what they and previous generations perceived and spoke of.

These later generations, having fallen prey to the same series of cognitive bias, have extended, their diagnosis to other social groups. And you, like they, and most who refer to themselves as Feminist, fall prey to inaccurate and hyperbolic language with the same built-in cognitive biases.

You claim that Feminism is a human rights group. It isn’t. It is a political ideology and is no more a human right group than Communism, or Capitalism or any other -ism. You are confusing the best intentions, presented in the best light of a group of people for a set of ideas, while ignoring that the fundamental claims made are false and generate the very kind of issues that you claim to work against. In doing so, you grant social legitimacy for a set of ideas that are false and incite people to behave harmfully to others.

I have no problem with what I understand to be your best intentions: fairness, impartiality, and kindness. I, an anti-Feminist share them. What I take issue with is that you don’t seem to distinguish between the actual content of these bodies of ideas from your own best intentions. I take issue with your inaccurate presentation of what each body of ideas is, and the purpose that people intend to put them to.

In doing so, and based on the same cognitive biases, you dismiss those who disagree with your assessment, and rather than clearly identify what ideas they hold, you ascribe malefic or ignorant behaviours and intentions to them with the final result being dissuasion from clinical and impartial evaluation of the ideas.

In short: you present Feminism as lollipops, women as babies and anti-Feminists as candy thieves. This misrepresentation is among the issues that make an anti-Feminist, an anti-Feminist.

How to divorce one’s self from distasteful political outliers

A common statement:

“My problem with this is that by calling myself either feminist or MRA, I’m helping the outliers gain more power when I want them to have less.”

The way to handle that is to speak of the specific beliefs and positions that you take, along with describing your behaviour, that is, eschew using verbal shortcuts that end with -ist. The problem is that -ism is a bucket usually filled with a person’s best intentions, rather than elegantly and lucidly stated positions. By speaking of what you think and do, you divorce yourself from those who claim a label while simultaneously putting forth your version of what you think a better world looks like in actionable terms.

Correcting The Skeptic Feminist’s attempt to separate “Group F” from the nutcases

I’m sure that you’re well-meaning, but this video does not offer sound reasoning. “If you’re an anti-feminist, that means you are against feminist activism” No. A non-Feminist is one who does not accept the tenets of Feminism. An anti-Feminist is one who advocates against the validity and acceptance of these tenets.

This entire video is merely an attempt at apologia for a label.  Your statements remind me of the Christian who says “We’re not talking about those irritating nutcase bible thumpers. If you believe in being a good neighbour, you’re a Christian. Christianity is merely activism for being a good person.”

No. If I don’t believe there is a god, I am not a Christian. If I am an anti-Theist, I am not against being a good neighbour. If I do not believe that women are somehow overall more oppressed than men, this does not mean that I am against human rights.

Your argument, as you quite correctly say, is not a No True Scotsman fallacy. It is a series of argument by stipulation, compound conflations and equivocations.

“Feminism is literally an activism in the cause of equality” No. It’s not. Feminism is the acceptance of a series of hypotheses based on the notion that women are on average more, or more intensely, oppressed than their male counterparts and it is from here that the value of “equality” is derived. “Equality” is a proposed solution to a stipulated claim. Non-Feminists reject the claim as non-theists reject the claim of the existence of a god.

Further, one may believe these things, yet not be an activist for its cause. Feminism is not activism, Feminist activism is activism.

If one believes that the world is out to get you or someone you love, it makes perfect sense that one would act in anger, and if you don’t understand that the claim is made from the point of view of only half of the population, it makes sense that you would ignore it or dismiss those of the other half and build your world view accordingly. Take the two together, ignorance and misunderstanding, add to that grand-hypotheses, passion and peer-group support and you have a recipe for bigotry. This formula is applicable across pretty much any group.

And it is this byproduct, the bigotry in action, that causes people to move from a position of non-Feminist to that of anti-Feminist.

Your essential error is the failure to recognize Feminism for what it is: a series of hypotheses about how the world works and proposed solutions based on these hypotheses. You second and common error is to conflate Feminism with Women’s Rights/Issues Activism. Feminism is one part of the women’s movement, it is not all of it. The women’s movement, like the men’s movement is one where people seek to resolve goals that affect that particular sex. This can be done without conflating issues or problems for oppression or subjugation.

You’ve offered some recommendations, I offer the following of my own: grab yourself a dozen textbooks or articles written by Feminists and inspect each claim critically. Keep asking the following question: “What is the fundamental underlying presupposition required for this presupposition to be true, how how was it derived?” Here’s a quick-start document.

Once you do, what you’ll recognize is that the problems that women experience become more concrete, more local, more solvable. You’ll also discover that there’s no need to blame large groups such as “men” or “institutions” or “society.” That will change the entire character of your activism.

Why anti-Feminist and not purely Pro-men’s rights?

A common objection to anti-Feminism:

“Sounds like you need to be pro men’s rights, not anti-feminism (women’s rights) and educate people through proactive activism as opposed to reactionary counter-labels.”

One can be both, especially considering that behaviour informed by Feminist hypotheses are the cause of many men’s issues. To the degree that one gives credibility to the label “Feminism” one endorses, implicitly or explicitly the ideas and behaviours derived from it. Many men’s advocates choose to speak out against these behaviours and consequences, see that the common root are the Feminist hypotheses and strive to counter these bad ideas. Your claim is akin to saying that men should “take care of their health” and not “stopping attacks upon them.” In this case, the latter is a means to the former.

A term to kill: Literally

Literally means 'NOT figuratively'


Please, please, please share this widely.


[Edit: Turns out that I did this one before. Get to work, people! :) ]

On the “gender balanced” cabinet in Canada.

On the “gender balanced” cabinet in Canada.

The deed is done. This is an experiment that we’ve never tried. Let’s see how it works out. We will either learn that there is a serious discrepancy in the performance of the ministers, or not.

We should be very strongly on guard, however, to immediately slap down any criticism of quota cabinet ministers who might complain that they are being harassed “because of sexism or racism” or other such common excuses. Having accepted the position granted by the ideological lottery, they must now endure the same treatment that all non-quota ministers have received since day one, and that comes with the position.

I am strongly against quotas, I think that the means is ill-conceived, but we’ve now got what we’ve got, and we have to deal with current reality. We should ensure, however, that no future cabinets are selected on this basis. This is the Left’s one, multi-year shot at proving their point. If it turns out that selecting a cabinet based on sex, or race is a successful experiment, then it should be proof that “non-white men” are competent, and “non-white men” should step up on their own steam and power, and not expect future free handouts of power-positions.

We often hear that one reason women don’t step up is a lack of role models. We’ve now held the hand of a variety of people and plunked them on the purple cushion… and under Damocles’s sword. There you go, kids, there are your role models. It is time now, for them to make the case, to show, rather than tell. Should it happen, however, that some do crash and burn, you don’t get to blame sexism, or the system. You may not reach for the argument of “historical oppression.” You must hold the individual accountable.

To do otherwise is to put ideology before results, and to demonstrate a complete disconnect with the reality that we are a mass of living people dealing with the incremental and life-or-death mundanity of daily life.


A Response to Seth Andrews’ response to an interview with Steve Shives

Please see the comment left by Seth Andrews of The Thinking Atheist on the video below.

Seth wrote a response to a good many people who have unsubscribed to his channel as a response to this video. I honestly believe that Seth is surprised, in the way that a Christian might be surprised to get pushback on what to them is perfectly normal. I hope to help clarify why some people might respond to the video in the way that they did.

First, I can understand why Seth would be annoyed. By unsubbing, it harms him financially. That’s a real-world consequence. The second is that he is the interviewer, not the guest. It’s not rational to unsub because of one interview. A whole series of interviews that promote non-rational ideologies might make for a different case. It is a mistake to assume that one interview represents the endorsement of a point

On the other hand, subs are legitimate feedback, as is unsubbing. This, I imagine is no different than ratings on radio. This is the world of politics. I can also see that Seth’s attitude toward commenting is rather paternal “I’m doing this for the good of the community,” which is also Steve Shive’s attitude. My thoughts are that “the community” might need my additional input, but not the removal of someone else’s. Mute them for yourself, but not for others. They’re adults, and it’s up to them to decide what to read or not, and how to handle it or not. I can see why, upon Seth’s announcement of a paternal approach to moderation why some might unsubscribe, their needs and desires are different than what Seth offers. I think that’s perfectly fair.

Added to that, based on this interview, one gets the sense that Seth has merely glossed on the subject of Feminism, and has not taken the time to dive into the very few arguments for and against. One need not be a university educated theologian to find the flaws of theism, and the disconnects with reality. One need not know all of the historical details and minutiae of thousands of writers lives to look at the basic ideas promoted by Feminism. Many people believe that Feminism is about “women’s rights” in the way that many people believe that being a Christian means “being a good neighbour.” They believe that the label represents good intentions. One can be a good person without the belief “a god exists,” and one can treat people impartially and fairly without the belief that “women are oppressed.”

Seth says “I don’t allow them to define Feminism for me.” This is exactly the same argument of “Well, MY god is…” Stop arguing about the definition of a word, throw it away, and think about the concrete claims, it’s presuppositions, and their relationship to the physical world. Further, Seth misrepresents the non-Feminist point of view in the same kind of ways that Christians misrepresent Atheist. “White men are oppressed” is as valid a representation of the non-Feminist position as is “Atheism means believing there is no god” is an accurate representation of the Atheist position. These claims start with the presupposition that “the other side” is the inverse of their own position.

Do you think the label matters? Yes, they do, and they should be discarded, until people can think past them. We don’t care about what people think, we care about what they do. We also acknowledge that ideas inform action. It is the framework of ideas that inform behaviours, and the derived actions that count, not a putative and brief descriptive overview of what the ideas represent.

It is as eye-rollingly frustrating to those of us who have thought the issues though to hear what is essentially the arguments of “cultural Feminism” as it is to you, Seth, to hear the same bland arguments made by “cultural Christianity.”

I think that we all share the same general goal of “making a better world.” I claim that if this to be achieved, that it will be done purely on a behavioural level, on a daily basis, and it starts with the concrete thinking of whether promoted beliefs match reality and are intentionally followed up with real actions, by real people who have considered the real consequences for other real people in the real world. To the degree that we endorse poorly considered messages, we are throwing sand in society’s gears and work against our own best intentions.

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This is not a daycare. It is a university.

Kudos to Dr. Everett Piper, President of Oklahoma Wesleyan University who wrote

At OKWU, we teach you to be selfless rather than self-centered. We are more interested in you practicing personal forgiveness than political revenge. We want you to model interpersonal reconciliation rather than foment personal conflict. We believe the content of your character is more important than the color of your skin. We don’t believe that you have been victimized every time you feel guilty and we don’t issue “trigger warnings” before altar calls.

Oklahoma Wesleyan is not a “safe place”, but rather, a place to learn: to learn that life isn’t about you, but about others; that the bad feeling you have while listening to a sermon is called guilt; that the way to address it is to repent of everything that’s wrong with you rather than blame others for everything that’s wrong with them. This is a place where you will quickly learn that you need to grow up.

This is not a day care. This is a university.

I’ll be watching with great interest to learn whether the university professors will finally have the courage to tell their students to act like adults, now that someone has led by example.  Then again, who knows, maybe the the university presidents themselves need to hear this message.