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.

http://www.okwu.edu/blog/2015/11/this-is-not-a-day-care-its-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.

Are MRAs Trainsphobic?

Trainsphobia: the irrational fear of those who identify as locomotives

I’ve never heard of any MRA speak ill of those who self-identify as locomotives.

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MGTOW: Rejecting the 4P’s

Men are providers, protectors, predators and perverts: REJECTED! MGTOW

MGTOW reject the social stereotypes assigned to men: that we are providers, protectors, predators and perverts.

Cleaning up after Sandman: MGTOW without the BS

As a MGTOW, I disagree with +Sandman, and I believe that this video mocking Sandman’s is well-deserved.

Sandman, whose job it is to produce one video per day, regardless of the quality has long-ago fallen over the cliff of wild-eyed conspiracy theory. I have deep disagreements with him for a number reasons. 1. He’s an all-or-nothing thinker, 2. He is an Us vs. Them thinker, 3. He’s a crappy thinker.

Allow me to set the record straight.

MGTOW is a label applied to the observation that fewer and fewer men are choosing to engage in marriage or long-term sexual relationships with women, to avoid the potential negative repercussions of a legal and cultural system that often creates deleterious consequences to us.

Culturally, men are treated as providers, protectors and predators. This may lead to legal issues where, too often, the tendency is to accept women’s accusations on the mere basis of instinct, socialization and now, policy.

On the legal front are the effects of police policies, divorce court and family court, which can have the potential consequences of man to losing his current and future wealth, his home and his family, all with the commensurate effects to his health and well-being.

MGTOW is the observation that an increasing number of men are choosing the risk management strategy of steering clear of a potential minefield, and not attempting navigating it with his fingers crossed.

On a more personal level, many men have learned that we can be quite happy when not adhering to the common social convention of serial monogamy, and often better when we assign the meaning and value of our life based on our choices, rather than those so commonly accepted by society.

That having been said, there are people who unthinkingly argue about “What MGTOW is” and wantonly attach all kind of pseudo-philosophies, observations, facts, falsehoods and batshit-insanies as those presented by Sandman, then incorrectly attach this body of notions to the observation as if these were the same.

Those who are observant and sound thinkers will recognize that MGTOW, one aspect of the general men’s movement, involves the revision of socially expected sex roles and the acceptance or rejection thereof, à la carte as meets each man’s individual needs and from his perspective.

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Are women “oppressed?”

+Helena Handbaskit asks:

“[A]re women oppressed in the western world, and if no, was there ever a time when they were, and if yes to that, when did it change and what changed it?”

I claim that they are not more or less oppressed than any man is or has been.

This is how I’ve come to my conclusion.

How we answer the question depends entirely on the meaning of the word “oppressed.” http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/ gives us the relevant bits. (Feel free to use other dictionaries.)

Oppression:
1. Prolonged cruel or unjust treatment or exercise of authority
2. The state of being subject to oppressive treatment
3. Mental pressure or distress (figurative)

What is “prolonged?” “Continuing for a long time or longer than usual; lengthy”

What is “cruel?” “Wilfully causing pain or suffering to others, or feeling no concern about it”

What is “unjust?” “Not based on or behaving according to what is morally right and fair.”

What is “authority?” “The power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience”

What is “oppressive?” “Inflicting harsh and authoritarian treatment”

What is “inflicting?” “Cause (something unpleasant or painful) to be suffered by someone or something”

What is “harsh?” “Unpleasantly rough or jarring to the senses”

What is “authoritarian?” “Favouring or enforcing strict obedience to authority at the expense of personal freedom” or “Showing a lack of concern for the wishes or opinions of others; dictatorial:”

So, using Oxford’s terms, oppression is the prolonged, unjust, willful causing of pain or suffering, or lack of caring thereof, by someone who has the power to enforce obedience (usually “men” or “the system”.)

Feminist claim that “women” experience this. This is their ideology’s foundational claim.

Does this sound like the average Western woman’s experience to you? One rarely hears a Feminist claim that they need Feminism because sub-group SG of country C experience, what essentially sounds like torturous slavery to me. We hear that “women” experience this. Let’s be generous and say that “women” is 50.1% of all women. Does this sound like what one-quarter of the world experiences regularly? Does this resemble general reality in any way?

This sounds like child soldiers in Sierra Leon. It sounds like some sex-slaves in the Philippines. It sounds like any man or woman during the Rwandan genocide. It sound like Jews in a Nazi concentration camp. It does not sound like the life of the typical university student who writes blogs and tries to shut down men’s therapy groups. It does not sound like any woman who expresses herself without fear for her life.

The claim is pure hyperbole, accepted as reality, because people are too lazy to look words up and think about them. And because such hyperbole is an excellent tool for inflaming the easily influenced into repeating the claims, or of raising money, or for scrabbling for a sense of moral superiority to brow-beat well-intentioned people into acquiescing to demands.

Do some women experience this? Without a doubt. So do, without a doubt, some men. Are there enough to justify that we say that a minimum of one-quarter of the world’s population experiences this?

No.

People bandy this hyperbole, broadening the scope of a word until it loses all reality-based anchoring and has the simple, strong and naïve emotional impact of a taboo. These definitions point to severe conditions. The way that the word is currently used is to use a diluted version of the weakest version. “The office’s atmosphere was oppressive,” meaning “unpleasant.” The reason is simple: propaganda. We already have the instinct to protect women, as we would children.

There is arguably a hierarchy of care in our species: infants, babies, small children, children, young women, older women, young boys, men, older men. The further down the scale, the less we care, the less we do about. This is a constant in our species, across history, geography and cultures. We do not start willy-nilly sacrificing lives until we reach the level of young boys.

Was there a time in our history where women as a class were limited in their participation in the public sphere? There was. Were the reasons cruel and capricious? They weren’t. If we look at the reasons, the conditions and the intended outcomes what we’re likely to see is good intentions that worked well in certain contexts, and as contexts started changing, the behaviours became less relevant. Remember that all trends in history are curves not abrupt start-stops.

Was there a time when women were kept, fed, housed and provided for, but denied access to education or a voice in politics. Yes. Was this oppression? No. It was not cruel, nor capricious, nor malicious, nor, even intentional. Were women “owned?” Other than those who were explicitly slaves, no. Slaves of all races were (and are) of both sexes and all races. Were they cloistered? In a great many cases, surely. They were cloistered in the way that one safeguards one’s most precious asset. Men had the job of protecting women. How does a mother protect children? She supervises them, limits their environmental reach and sets rules so that she can perform her duty of protection. People, male and female, can be overprotective and beyond it’s need.

What Feminists call “oppression” was men having accepted their roles as providers and protectors even after we had created such a secure and wealthy environment that women no longer needed individual men’s protection, she could benefit from men’s collective protection and provision. We have no wild animals to contend with, a rigorous police force, and social programs aplenty.

A woman only needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle because men have created a near-ideal circumstance for the fish to flourish, unassisted, supported by his work, invisible in its aggregate. What Feminists are calling “oppression” today, is merely having to experience real-life, the princess complaining that there are too few mattresses over the pea.

Depictions of sexually appealing women in video games? “Man spreading?” Tweets as harassment? Please.

This is what I advocate: adult women should be treated as are adult men. They should be expected to handle life’s joys and rough edges just as a man would. Women, during the emancipation movement sought the freedom to have control over their own lives, not to have control over others’. She should expect no treatment that is beyond or below that which men receive. Having the right to freedom in the most advanced, the safest, the best-fed society the world has ever known, she should endure the same minor discomforts of living that men do. These are the simple duties for which the rights that are granted to all of us exist.

Does this deny a woman her power to voice her concerns? Not in the least bit. All citizens in our society are granted this right, and that’s all women are: citizens who happen to be female.

The only way that “women are oppressed” in the Western World, and I would claim in most of the world is if the term is completely redefined to mean “subject to the same nuisances and inconveniences as are men.”

The conspiracy of “MGTOW’s subversion”

To those who think that MGTOW can be “inflitrated” or “coopted” or “subverted” I ask the following question: since when did the observation that fewer and fewer men are engaging in relationships with women for the purpose of reducing a vector of risk from state interference become some organization or club that can be attacked?  And for what purpose? To induce men into becoming vulnerable to State attack by getting them to marry?

Think about it.

The following is an extract that I think might shed a bit of light on the issue.

In “Subversion of Social Movements by Adversarial Agents”  Eric L. Nelson outlines “thirteen suppressive or subversive methods” to bring about “social movement failure.” Failures are classified as either “petit” or “complete,” depending on whether the targeted movement or organization is merely demoralized and shaken up, or completely “brought down.”

The methods, each of them explained and illustrated, are:

1) Suppress Information Flow;

2) Suppress Recruiting Efforts;

3) Reduce Recruiting Opportunities

4) Develop Attractive Alternatives;

5) Tempt Members to Leave;

6) Reverse Recruiting Using Demoralizing Information;

7) Operationalize Secure/Faux Concessions;

8) Expertly Directed, Incessant Proactive Manipulation of Media;

9) Resource Depletion;

10) Stigmatization;

11) Divisive Disruption;

12) Intimidation; and

13) Intrapsychic Wounding.

The article ends with the following (abbreviated for this post) conclusion.

“Thirteen tested and theoretical methods of subversion reviewed here were designed to induce petit or grand failure into targeted social movements. History demonstrates that in the laboratory of real life multiple methods of subversion are generally deployed sequentially and concurrently, in accordance with the tactical strategy developed by adversarial agents specific to a targeted social movement.”

Too many people are conflating simple disagreement and very sloppy thinking of a very sloppy term with some sort of social conspiracy.

C’mon guys. Focus on what is important: your control over your life, and helping other men effectively deal with the currently hostile legal and cultural environment so that we can live the best life that we can, regardless of the current state of the world.

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How to Know Thyself

I believe that one of the biggest problems that people face, in terms of our personal selves is that we too often get lost in a means goal, and not going straight for the end goal.

A means goal is a path to an end goal. We get lost in “I need to drive to the next city” and not “I need to get to the next city.” What happens if the car is broken? Or the roads closed? Then we must do battle to focus on making the car go from A to Z, and we fail to consider other alternatives. Having someone drive us, the bus, the train, airplanes, boats.

Then again, is getting to the next city even the goal? Or is it also a means goal? Perhaps it is, to spend time with loved ones. That would be an end goal. Perhaps it is not, but to have an interview, to get a job, do pay the bills. What if paying the bills is really the end goal? Makes focusing on driving seem silly, doesn’t it?

Example: “I believe that promoting X makes me a good person.”

Promoting the idea is a means goal, “being a good person” would be the end goal. It is my experience that when we directly work on being a good person, that we get tangible results sooner, because we focus on the elements of the goal: what are the criteria that I can measure that will allow me to ascertain whether I am in fact, a good person?

When we do this, we often realize that the means goal would not have gotten us to where we want to be, or that there are better, simpler, quicker and less energy intensive ways of getting to that goal.

I’ve often had difficulty with the concept of “know thyself.”

The answer, it turns out is simple: know your needs, your goals, your strengths, weaknesses, habits and preferences.

If you know your needs, you’ll know your goals. If you know your goals, you can evaluate what strengths or weaknesses, habits and preferences bear on the achieving the goal.

When you know these things, and put them all in order, life becomes much simpler and more pleasant.

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Crazy lives on both sides of the fence

Crazy lives on both sides of the fence. Guess which side you're on.

Crazy lives on both sides of the fence. Guess which side you’re on.

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