The Sultans’ Jester
Ah, here is a man after my own heart! Having been condemned to this incomprehensible suspended animation while still a successful Court Jester and harem eunuch at the Sublime Porte, one of the most disorienting aspects of my slow and painful awakening has been the modern obsession with ‘problems’ that in my time were of little or no import, whilst people simultaneously seem to ignore the worst catastrophes imaginable. Whereas even we in the Ottoman lands felt compelled to try and intervene in the Irish Potato Famine, it seems today people are far more interested in assuaging their selfish urges by harping on about climate change or spending money on pet food while the general suffering of people in the so-called ‘Developing’ World is seen as inscrutable or at least unavoidable. But I am pre-empting the poor man’s article – I must hush!
Given the number of sacred cows this writer seems willing to sacrifice, it is safe to say his article will cause widespread offence, but I feel it gives perspective to a society that perhaps lacks it.
”What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one. Orwell feared those who would deprive us of information. Huxley feared those who would give us so much that we would be reduced to passivity and egoism. Orwell feared that the truth would be concealed from us. Huxley feared the truth would be drowned in a sea of irrelevance. Orwell feared we would become a captive culture. Huxley feared we would become a trivial culture, preoccupied with some equivalent of the feelies, the orgy porgy, and the centrifugal bumblepuppy. As Huxley remarked in Brave New World Revisited, the civil libertarians and rationalists who are ever on the alert to oppose tyranny “failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.” In 1984, Orwell added, people are controlled by inflicting pain. In Brave New World, they are controlled by inflicting pleasure. In short, Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us.”
– Neil Postman, ‘Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Showbuisiness’
There is much written about so-called ‘First World Problems’ already and the idea has become something of a modern day ‘meme’. It generally relates to problems which come into focus due to affluence and people not having anything better to worry about. As such, given that it reminds us of the necessity of looking not only at those we aspire to but also those less fortunate than us, it is a very useful idea. Sadly, like most ideas prevalent nowadays, it is not used in a way that would actually effect change either in the individual or society as a whole. Nonetheless, it is opportune to consider what people in the (poorly named) ‘Developing World’ would make of the things which we consider ‘First World Problems’. I suspect their list of spurious and fallacious hindrances that we in the West have concocted for ourselves out of affluence and ennui would differ considerably to our own. Here is a typical list of what we usually consider to be First World Problems, which I would prefer to call ‘spiritual diseases of affluence’ if I had the chance:http://first-world-problems.com/#sthash.lQ1JpJH0.dpbs.
As you will see, they all revolve around non – issues such as problems with ones holiday, smartphone and other more absurd and insignificant variations around the same theme. The implication is that it is ludicrous and entitled to feel irritated by such trivialities while there are people who lack for basic food and water let alone education and the finer things of ‘Western Civilization’. This is correct. And yet the conveniently trivial examples are sparing of the heart of the Western intellectual project. I suspect that it is not the accoutrements of technology and excess wealth alone that are the real First World Problems. In fact, a host of issues that are held dear by many, especially secular and liberal people in the West and elsewhere, are trifling matters. The reason these are never considered ‘First World Problems’, despite only coming to the fore due to an industrialised society with effective law enforcement, excessive yet poorly distributed wealth and near universal education, is that most people are not willing to see these issues, often unimportant in more constrained circumstances, as mere artefacts that occur in societies that become directed inwards, having ever more minute iterations of concern for their own rights and becoming ever more blaise of the suffering of the other.
I was told of a public talk by Malaaka Shabaaz, daughter of Malcolm X. She was asked, since she is concerned about poverty in general and the African question in particular, what was being done about Gay and Lesbian rights in Africa (or the increasingly convoluted acronyms that must be employed to describe sexual preference, such as LGTBQ+). She replied that where she worked they had more pressing concerns, such as no food or water and people trying to kill them.
The implication was that gay rights was a ‘side issue’ and not a priority when the concern at hand is famine or genocide. In essence, to put it in a more pejorative way, gay rights may be a ‘First World Problem’.
Of course, people will find this hugely offensive, countering that the struggle for the equality in pursuing differing sexual interests should go in tandem with emancipation from starvation or war. Some may actually think that their interests lie with the issue of gay rights so profoundly that they would prefer to act on this issue and leave the whole famine thing to Russell Brand or whoever. If this seems outlandish, consider those who choose to, understandably perhaps, ‘Save the Whale’ or the panda. If these causes require charity money, then the clear logical inference is that there is resource scarcity. Thus if there is resource scarcity, all of the available (scarce) resources should go to saving African babies and none to the panda. Once no African babies are dying, then we can move onto education and so on until we get to ‘The Panda’. In short, the panda will have to wait: as long as there are kids dying from starvation (and one does so every 1.2 seconds), the panda is, like it or not, a waste of time and money. It would be nice if these goals could be achieved simultaneously, but lets be honest, they can’t, and it is not moral to give your limited charity Pounds, Dollars, Reminbi or Rupees to ‘Save the Eastern Long Beaked Echidna’ or whatever while there is a child going blind from Vitamin A deficiency. Unless you can show that you were giving the poor African child – and I make no apology for the stereotype because statistically, it is an African child more often than not – his or her due first.
Milton is justifiably oft quoted:
‘The mind is it’s own kind of place. It can of itself, make a paradise out of a hell and a hell out of a paradise’
Today’s man, ‘Homo Excessus’, has very much achieved this. Modern man doubts both the Devil and Hell. Perhaps this is because man has no need of a God to punish him, as he is quite capable of perfecting his own suffering. A Hell of our very own, not too dissimilar to what the Democratic Capitalism we adore has created right here on Earth – a segment of society that has too much but no peace because it secretly is still human enough to hate itself for it and a segment that has neither peace nor enough. We have made a system where we inflict Hell on our fellow man and on ourselves. And we would die to defend it.
So now that we have duly offended the gay and conservation lobbies, what are these ‘real’ First World diseases of affluence that command our attention and sympathy but are in fact trivialities that can only come to be noticed in industrialised and selfish civilizations such as our own? What are the other ‘pandas’ we are worrying about instead of African babies?
Terrorism & Death
Of course, these go together like ‘shu be du be du du wop du wop du wop’ in ‘Grease’. But how could they possibly be ‘First World Problems’? These are most definitely things that should legitimately get us worked up. Certainly it is not that they are not real problems, but rather the reaction of most in the West to these things which is abnormal.
I once attended the screening of a biopic about ‘Carlos The Jackal’, at which the talented and underrated Venezuelan actor portraying him, Edgar Ramirez, was present for a ‘Question & Answer’ session. He was asked if he considered it legitimate to ‘whack’ terrorists such as Carlos (or Bin Laden for that matter, who I believe was still respiring at that time). He responded very intelligently: ‘I don’t have a taxonomy of life, this idea that some life is less valuable than others, so I can’t really answer that’.
The fact is however, that perhaps more than anyone else, we in the West do have a taxonomy of life – people whose lives are inherently worth more than others. Just because we never openly admit it, much like how ‘modern day slavery’ or ‘people trafficking’ or working in a Chinese garment factory is just ‘slavery’ and not any of the other epithets we have given it to maintain our illusion of progress, does not mean that it is not the case. Someone once justified this to me by saying ‘I am concerned with American lives more than others because I happen to live in America and be an American’. Of course, this actually sounds sensible to many people and in fact could be extended to a general formula: ‘I have First World Problems because I live in the First World. Big deal’. Lets see if this makes sense.
It is very hard to empirically demonstrate that there is a hierarchy of the value of life, not least because anyone who admitted this would be seen as pretty uncool. My old flatmate, who was proud of being a somewhat outmoded black radical (self described), had something which he liked to call the ‘White Girl Test’. His idea was that in Western Civilization, the most venerated and sanctified life was in fact that of a Caucasian woman. Thus his test for things that were clearly morally wrong but people do not seem to notice or make elaborate justifications for: he would say, whether it was a police shooting, a drone strike or rendition, arrest without charge, secret trials, ‘you have to ask yourself, ‘could you get away with doing this to a white girl’? Specifically a middle class or above white girl? Say, Gwyneth Paltrow or Emma Stone or something. Usually the answer is ‘Hell no!”
The problem is possibly a good deal more complicated than that but the wannabe Black Militants’ point was well made – certain segments of society get a lot more sympathy and concern over their rights and sufferings than others. We are all taught to feel bad for members of our military who are killed in combat, regardless of the justification for war, and less so for those foreigners whom they kill. As someone rightly pointed out, Nationalism (which even at its very best can never conceivably be more than a fortuitous accident of birth) is ‘feeling proud of things you didn’t do and hating people you have never met’. Or maybe it is actually about charity beginning at home; we see the nation as an extension of our family or tribe and then cushion our sympathies in that world view.
However, the problems with having a taxonomy of life are rather insurmountable: 1) You overreact when ‘you and yours’ are harmed or threatened and act with disregard for the lives of those lower on the hierarchy of importance than you and 2) There will always be someone for whom you are at the bottom of their hierarchy of life.
September 11 2001 was a great tragedy in which three thousand innocent people died. What we in America demonstrated however is that we are wiling to kill hundreds of thousands of people to avenge those three thousand. Because they are more important. They are American. It has almost entirely escaped us that the terrorists who killed them in the first place had a similar idea but an inverted taxonomy: they were expendable because they were American.
Let’s have an attempt at demonstrating Ramirez’ ‘Taxonomy of Life’ empirically.
At the beginning of the Iraq war in 2003, Iraq had a population of some 26 million people. Figures for casualties as a direct result of the Iraq war, which no matter how much it is denied today was indeed justified by and a result of 9-11, range from 600,000 to over 1,000,000:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War.
The fact that a lot more sleep is lost over veterans who have been maimed and killed than this figure is proof enough of our taxonomy but consider this: if we take the upper figure of 1,000,000 deaths, that is 1/26 of all people in Iraq having been killed as a result of the conflict, or 3.85% of the total population. Let us now imagine that the situation were somehow reversed and an Iraqi led coalition had attacked and invaded the United States and in the process killed 3.85% of the civilian population, which today stands at 316,000,000. That would amount to some 12,166,000 fatalities. How would the people of the United States respond to such an unprecedented calamity, one that made WWII let alone 9/11 look like a fight with some pigtail pulling in a kindergarten? We could also mention Iraqi refugees. Some estimate that as a result of the Iraq War some 1/12 people have been uprooted internally or externally:http://costsofwar.org/article/iraqi-refugees. Let us now add these to the twelve million dead Americans in our thought experiment, which gives us 8.3% of the US population made into refugees, some 26,000,000 people.
Such a catastrophe as that which we have visited on Iraq (we won’t even mention the collective punishment of the people of Afghanistan for the actions of the Taliban and Bin Laden) is not even imaginable if we scale it up to America: we cannot even contemplate loosing 12 million civilian lives and having twice as many more made homeless. Yet this is precisely what we have done to Iraq. The conclusion is simple: we have a ‘taxonomy of life’ that means when ‘our’ lives are lost, we react with shocking indignation and vengeance. But when we kill 4% of the Iraqi populace and displace another 8%, we are shocked at their ‘hatred’ of us and ‘our way of life’. We look on with bemusement as the country spirals into anarchy and wonder if we will ever understand these inscrutable Arabs. We are alarmed at the emergence of ISIS and fret about the fate of poor Christians living under them, because, well, at least the Christians are a little more like us than those Muslims.
The reality is that any country which was the victim of such brutality would have rampant hatred towards those on the outside, even if that country was the US. It is a myth that we would be any more dignified or restrained. In fact we have already shown that we are not, both with 9/11 (which led to an over-reaction where we were willing to attack countries so uninvolved as Iran) and previously with our decision to end the Second World War with the exclamation point of an entirely unnecessary nuclear attack on the civilian population of Japan (deliberately calculated to take place on a school day to maximise child fatalities), in what was an act of pure revenge, despite the fact that the Japanese had virtually no capability to attack US civilians.
If someone killed millions of Americans and invaded the country then installed a puppet regime, we would hate them with a vengeance and no one would be questioning why we hate them. And yes, evil as they are, we too would have some group similar to ISIS, which in the anarchy used whatever justification it could to attack those it saw as its enemies as well as their presumed allies. If Muslims had carried out such an attack on the US, anyone who was thought to be a Muslim or a sympathiser or just Muslim – looking would be getting lynched in the US right now. There may even be a new Civil War between different states destabilised by the invasion and competing for scarce resources.
There is nothing at all surprising about what has happened in Iraq since the war, from the anarchy and violence to the attacks on Christians and the rise of ISIS. Compared to what we would expect in any society after such horror as was unleashed by that war (not to mention the sanctions for a decade or more beforehand which resulted in another 500,000 dead children), the Iraqis have been somewhat ‘restrained’. We would be just as bad or indeed worse under similar conditions.
But that’s just the issue isn’t it? We have never had similar conditions. And nor can we imagine them. Our lives are so precious to us, and those of others like Iraqis so insignificant, that we just can’t make that equivalence. Because, lets face it, American and European lives are not as disposable as Iraqi or African ones are they?
Perhaps as my old flatmate would say: ‘At the end of the day, you just can’t treat white women that way’.
The reality is that as we increase in our development and wealth we see an increase in our life expectancy, a reduction in maternal and infant mortality and we become unfamiliar with death from poor nutrition, a lack of health care or even just plain old ‘disease’. We see people dying of old age and expect the same for ourselves. Anything else is a tragedy and is met with incredulity and shock: ‘How could this happen?!’ It would be more accurate to say ‘how could this happen to us?’, because for most of the remainder of humanity, that is not the case anyway and for reasons of malnutrition, violence and disease due to lack of basic healthcare, life as they say, is cheap. Our lives however are not so cheap, so we respond to it’s loss in a different way. Perhaps an abnormal way. The reason is that having escaped these perennial human horrors of an early death from starvation or sickness we, instead of trying to ensure an equitable distribution of the food and resources that made this possible, instead turned inwards and became ever more concerned about the value of our own lives and relegated the lives of those dark foreigners to a telethon or a collection once a year. As we become more wealthy and ‘developed’ (materially, not morally), our place in the taxonomy of life rises, as does the gap we perceive between us and those ‘others’ further down. We cannot understand how some of us could have our life expectancy, ever increasing, curtailed by a bomb or some other horror: but for an Iraqi or a Angolan, this is a daily possibility. The problem however really comes when we start to act as if this should be the case and treat the deaths of the other with a ‘Oh well how sad’ and our own deaths with ‘How can this happen?! Why?! Who is responsible?! I want vengeance?! Blood?!’ and non-stop news coverage.
The news in the West is an excellent barometer of people’s taxonomy of life. A hostage crisis in Australia will get more coverage than nearly and hundred and fifty school children shot dead in Pakistan. Part of the reason is because we are closer to the hostage crisis and it is ‘local’. But some of the reason is because we think that lives closer to ours are also more valuable.
In the aftermath of the 2005 tsunami that claimed some 280,000 lives, many ‘analysts’ in the West (nearly always Caucasian men and women in ill fitting suits who had not the slightest link with SE Asia where the tragedy occurred, such as the parasitic Richard Dawkins) were asking what kind of God would allow this to happen and what more proof people required of his non-existence or at least indifference than this horror. Strangely though, virtually no-one from the deeply religious countries affected, from Indonesia through Sri Lanka to Thailand and beyond, seemed to be asking this question. The reason I suspect is due to the familiarity with death that is present in these poorer countries: they already know that suffering is unavoidable, they have seen it and its increase or decrease does not effect their equilibrium or world view as much as it does ours.
We however have overcome some kinds of suffering. That in itself is good, but forgetting them means we also forget that the vast majority of mankind labours yet under those same miseries.
Asking if God exists due to the presence of suffering is a new question: in the past (and present for most people), the existence of God is established with the realisation that suffering is great.
Global Warming, Population Crises & Science Cults
Again, this requires qualification and if I may be permitted before being hung, drawn, quartered and the subsequent reduction in my carbon footprint celebrated by Global Warming Denier Hunters, I could do little better than to start with a selection of quotes from noted physicist and all round nice guy Freeman Dyson:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freeman_Dyson#Global_warming
“My objections to the global warming propaganda are not so much over the technical facts, about which I do not know much, but it’s rather against the way those people behave and the kind of intolerance to criticism that a lot of them have.”
”The models solve the equations of fluid dynamics, and they do a very good job of describing the fluid motions of the atmosphere and the oceans. They do a very poor job of describing the clouds, the dust, the chemistry and the biology of fields and farms and forests. They do not begin to describe the real world we live in …
And most pertinently to my own concerns:
”I’m not saying the warming doesn’t cause problems, obviously it does. Obviously we should be trying to understand it. I’m saying that the problems are being grossly exaggerated. They take away money and attention from other problems that are much more urgent and important. Poverty, infectious diseases, public education and public health. Not to mention the preservation of living creatures on land and in the oceans.”
Yes, you understood him correctly – he’s daring to say that ‘Global Warming’ may be a ‘First World Problem’.
As people as diverse as philosopher John Gray and activist Russell Brand have noticed, the reverence and deference once reserved for religion and the clergy has found a new home in the unquestioning veneration given to science and scientists. The heresy hunting that was once the preserve of the Church has been taken over in both schools and the public sphere, on issues such as the teaching of Evolution and Man – Made Climate Change, by ‘scientists’ or more often their familiars and fans. What is important here is not so much the truth of these theories as the extent to which scientific consensus is enforced and the ‘other’ portrayed as unwelcome or even dangerous. We are all very rightly wary when the religious consensus is imposed upon us but only too happy to hunt down other types of heretics and remind them that the American Academy of Sciences unanimously believes in Darwinism or that who on Earth are they to challenge the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) and it’s conclusions.
Basically, we are insisting that individuals, informed or not, are to shut up and follow authority. The only difference is that this time it is the fashionable authority of the physical sciences whereas in the past it was the authority of the Church or the Monarchy or the State. You got it: those same people that were trying to kill Galileo and Company (though it is doubtful that even this occured) for suggesting the Earth may be older than 6000 years are now demanding that you swear on a stack of Physics textbooks that it is 13.7 billion years old. But the mentality of the people, namely argument from authority, has not changed. They are the ‘same’ people. They just chose to follow scientists instead of monks or whoever happens to be ‘in charge of stuff’.
Warning us that “heretics” have historically been an important force in driving scientific progress, Freeman Dyson wisely observes:
“Heretics who question the dogmas are needed …I am proud to be a heretic. The world always needs heretics to challenge the prevailing orthodoxies.”
However, as thinkers such as Thomas Kuhn, Paul K Feyerband, Mary Midgley and the aforementioned John Gray amongst others have ably demonstrated, despite its protestations, the scientific community is hardly any more tolerating of dissent than any other ideological group throughout history.
Many climate scientists are quite open of their view that scientists who depart from the opinions of the IPCC should be ‘ostracised’. Excommunicated would be a better word. Little could be clearer evidence that the white coat of the scientist is now seen in the same way as the priests’ smock.
As Dickens’ rightly observed, people who have expended great time and effort in a particular profession become very attached to it and blind to its faults, often more clearly perceived by outsiders. Thus, as he wrote;
”a criminal judge is an excellent witness against the Punishment of Death, but a bad witness in its favour”
Or to put it another way, once you have a profession called ‘Climate Change Scientists’, you can be pretty sure they will find evidence for climate change, just as once you have plastic surgeons they will be offering you boob jobs. It is not also true that they will necessarily be wrong – after all, you need doctors for cancer treatment as well as unnecessary mammary cosmesis, just that there should be necessary caution and that scientists and even the Scientific Method must not be treated as somehow inhumanly beyond error, bias or indeed distortion, as the clergy once was assumed to be.
However, many in both science and the public treat the ‘Scientific Method’ as the Holy of Holies, much as the Communists once insisted that all intellectual activity was subject to the ‘Diamat’ of Dialectical Materialism, which was supposed to be an omnicompetant method for finding the truth in any situation. Or perhaps Henry Ford summed it up better. When asked if his revolutionary Model – T Ford was available in a variety of colours, ‘Yes’ he said, ‘available in any colour. As long as its black’.
Whatever can be said about science as a mechanism for seeking truth, it is invariably carried out by flawed humans. And like religion, sometimes by the most flawed of humans. Robert Oppenheimer reminded us of this after having led the development of the Nuclear Bomb and witnessed its horrendous first test by saying: ‘I have become Shiva, destroyer of worlds’. Perhaps true in one sense, but hardly the picture of objectivity (or indeed caution) we are taught to expect from a scientist.
‘Men go and come but Earth abides’ (Ecclesiastes 1:4). Perhaps man is just a passing nightmare for the planet and the Earth will resume its dream without us and Oppenheimer’s hubris. Who knows.
Dyson, quoted above, was also involved in the refinement and construction of nuclear weapons and perhaps knows better the proclivities of scientists when they are convinced they are right. They are just as dangerous as other people when they are convinced that they are the sole purveyors of truth.
Climate change scientists must be open to scrutiny, and not just by other climate change scientists but by physicists like Dyson and others:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/environment/climatechange/8786565/War-of-words-over-global-warming-as-Nobel-laureate-resigns-in-protest.html as well as anyone else who wants to have a go. But this rarely happens and climate change sceptics are threatened with exclusion from scientific circles or naked argument from authority is deployed; ‘Well, you aren’t a climate change scientist’. Indeed, most of us are not. But would we allow the same principle in, say, politics or religion? ‘Only theologians may discuss the existence of God, begone Dawkins and Hitchins!’ This would never be allowed, despite the fact that many of those (often scientists) who like to opine on eschatological or religious matters have about as much right to do so as an excellent statistician has to pilot a passenger aeroplane. Competence in one field does not give you competence in all. In fact, this is a malady that scientists have inherited from their religious and alchemical forbears – namely the idea that excellence in a certain method renders one ‘omni-competant’ and that the clergy can be consulted on matters of state and contraception without undertaking special learning these areas. Today scientists, historically perhaps jealous of the power and impunity of the clergy, are enjoying the same deference: ‘Existential crises? Girl trouble? Sink blocked? Then let’s ask a man of science!’
But I digress, although necessarily – my point is essentially the same as Dysons; Global Warming and the obsession that most Liberals and the Left have with it is detracting tremendously from bigger problems. Global Warming is a First World Problem, a ‘Save the Panda’ if you will, that is detracting from the perennial problems of poverty which in turn leads to sickness, violence and an early death.
This is seen from the efforts dedicated to each. Like ‘gay rights’, the cause of global warming takes up an inordinate amount of a certain type of individuals’ time: ‘I’m making a better world for my children!’, they often cry. But it is essentially selfish and like many have observed, charity not only begins at home it tends to stay there. What about all the other peoples’ children that are dying of preventable diseases such as malaria or common or garden variety starvation while you worry about how much your kid might have to pay for a holiday in the future?
The ideologically biased nature of the Green Movement is seen from the fact that it will inevitably be the developing world that is most affected by climate change. At the end of the day even the sceptics usually agree, like Dyson and Co. that the increase in temperatures is real – it is the cause that is under doubt: is it the end of the last Ice Age or human activity etc. But we can see that the climate change lobbies agenda is not sincere – their own models show that huge areas of the developing world will be suffering horribly from flooding regardless of any action taken within the next century. They are often frightening the masses with news that Bangladesh for example will largely be under water and that this could precipitate the largest movement of people in history. So what are you doing about that? Well, nothing. According to their models, no amount of reduction in emissions could prevent it. But of course, the aim is to reduce emissions and safeguard our future: Bangladesh being under water? Well, we’ll deal with that (read: we won’t) when it happens.
It is also interesting that very few challenge the climate change issue with a view to challenging capitalism (or socialism, in the recent case of Naomi Klein). We need to do something about climate change but lets not yell too loud, for the climate change movement knows that as long as it can stay allied to governments, punitive taxation and big business, it stands a chance. Ideas that would actually work – like not letting shops print receipts that waste a huge amount of paper when you buy a stick of gum or to keep all of their lights on at night for ‘advertising’ or getting permission when you want to buy a 5 litre Jeep for you and your family of zero other people are never brought to the fore. Klein is right along with some others in identifying Capitalism as the proximal cause of all environmental problems – but then again, she is apparently a socialist and we would expect that from this contingent as part of their critique of free markets, despite the fact that the most extreme forms of socialism in our recent past have hardly led to an environmental utopia either. I am very suspicious of people, however well intentioned, who tell you to not chew gum as it creates litter. So you should chew tobacco, or smoke since they are more biodegradable instead.
In fact, nothing that can get in the way of personal freedom in either Free Market or Leftist, Liberal or Socialist models is really on the table, since most of the climate change lobby also happens to be Liberal and personal freedom is a sacred and untouchable methane heavy herbivore for such people: ‘I’ll cycle to work and not take the car as long as I choose to but don’t you bloody make me!’ I mean come on, where are the laws limiting the engine size on cars, lighting of offices at night, compulsory recycling etc. Personal freedom will always trump environmental responsibility for climate changes’ street army and the end result of it is that taxes on fuel and a slew of other ‘Green’ or carbon penalties are instituted by governments so that people just pay more to keep engaging in the same behaviours. When there is a campaign to compel CEOs and politicians to use Skype instead of flying in First Class to discuss things ‘face to face’, then we know we are getting serious (it is interesting that after a G8 summit in the city of Okinawa, President Clinton pledged the amount of $300 million dollars to give a ‘free lunch’ to children in the Third World. Later that day the Japanese revealed that they had spent $735 million on the summit itself, an amount sufficient to pay for the schooling of some 12 million children in the developing world),
The sad fact that no-one, least of all Liberals are willing to face or address is that personal freedom and environmental responsibility are at odds and if the climate situation is as critical as they say, it is not only governments that must be lobbied but people’s behaviour must change radically. And if they do not change, they will need to be compelled. That’s if the looming crises is as apocalyptic as they would have us believe. Of course, many of the leaders of the movement understand and openly acknowledge this, but the lack of clarity or progress makes one wonder if this effort would not be better expended on our malarial African baby. A lot of fuss and very little change in behaviour, beyond the perennial death and now ‘Green’ taxes.
Regardless of the realities of Climate change – and I agree with Dyson for what it’s worth that it is happening – the priorities of the movement are wrong and their ideological biases and a priori assumptions stop them from achieving a satisfactory result, much as the Terrence Higgins Trust will give out condoms till the cows come home but never advocate different modes of intercourse (less traumatic anal for example) nor abstinence. Why? Not because these don’t work but because these are against their a priori beliefs. These ideologically biased groups are just not going to achieve much apart from detracting form bigger issues such as a more equitable distribution of wealth and a global reduction in violence, which is probably why they and not the exponents of the former ideas are given relative free reign by the media and politicians.
It is illustrative to appreciate what some in the Green movement are now doing – that their entrenched opposition to nuclear power has thus far prevented them from pursuing it as a possibly viable alternative. It may not pan out – but the Green movement, till recently has dismissed it on purely ideological (aka religious) grounds. To quote environmentalist Mark Lynas:
‘Let me be very clear. Without Nuclear the battle against global warming is as good as lost. Even many greens now admit this in private moments’:http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2012/sep/14/nuclear-global-warming.
‘Private moments’? Are they trying to prevent global warming or only prevent it in an ideologically consistent way? If it is the latter, they may well present a hindrance – a bit like a religious fundamentalist who says ‘I am happy to sort out pig farming. But only within the limits prescribed by the Torah’.
The environmental crises, to whatever extent it exists vis a vis global warming, is caused, according to the movement itself, by human behaviour. However, they are very often not willing to tackle this wasteful, hubristic and hedonistic behaviour, only possible with modern morality, wealth and technology, except in a very limited and possibly ineffective way. They are happy to tell people how to behave, but like most, don’t like in turn to be told how to behave themselves. Understandable, but foolish.
The climate change movement or rather the street level fundamentalists it has spawned seem to be very disinterested in the environmentally damaging effect of excessive consumption in the West. And the global reach of the Western media and thus cultural model (the aptly named ‘monoculture’ whose supreme secular leaders are Kim and Kanye Waste) means that the emerging markets of China and so on aspire to the same damaging levels of consumption, but again, confronting how much we eat, how much we waste (it is rare to hear about the European food mountains anymore with heroic exceptions such as Tristram Stuart:http://www.tristramstuart.co.uk/) is rarely done, because then the climate change lobby will be facing serious push back from ‘capitalism’. And capitalism (or socialism for others on the left) is the one sacred vache no-one really wants to take on. Because that means instant death in the media, as Russell Brand is now discovering.
The fact is that the level of consumption we regard as ‘normal’ is in and of itself severely environmentally damaging. If the rest of the world, which is so furiously trying to catch up to us, was to demand half as much as us to eat or waste, the planet would simply not sustain it. But rather than admit this and regulate our desires, we have, including most liberals who are inordinately concerned about climate change, accepted the capitalist model that requires unlimited growth and thus unlimited resources and instead become concerned with the revival of another First World Problem – the fear of excessive population growth.
Endless books are published on this matter and we are constantly reminded that population growth will become ‘unsustainable’. This attracts a huge amount of ‘charity’ money, including from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to entities such as the borderline eugenicist ‘Planned Parenthood Foundation’:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Margaret_Sanger#Eugenics. Bizarrely, these people cannot appreciate what population experts like Danny Dorling, without the hideous crypto – religious ideas of organisations such as the above, have decried: the irresponsibility of looking at the change in population, which is expected to be increasing due to food distribution and production and which is now slowing for demographic reasons, and not the more relevant rate of change of change of population (or the second derivative):http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jun/16/population-10-billion-dorling-review
It is abundantly clear that this is a manufactured problem of the simplistic nature of ‘the darkies are copulating like rabbits and will outnumber and starve us to death with their black babies on spaceship Earth’. What no one is considering is what I asked one of these vile scare-mongers as he sought to promote his latest ‘study’ to a Liberal audience, who were obediently lapping it up: ‘When you talk about not having enough food, are you adding up all of the spare calories we in the West carry around as fat and waste in food mountains…(no, he bloody well wasn’t) or are you just assuming what would happen if everyone was as fat and wasteful as us?’ His argument really was that if everyone wants to be as obese and wasteful as us in America then we will have a problem. Big surprise.
So then why is the solution people in the third world having less babies and not us eating less and wearing less? Why is the solution ‘planned parenthood’ for African mothers and not telling the average American woman who spends $6000 dollars a year on clothes but has worn less than 20% of her wardrobe(http://techcrunch.com/2012/10/24/clothing-swap-startup-tradesy-wants-to-turn-every-womans-closet-into-currency/) to change her lifestyle instead of the African woman who is ‘copulating too much’?
‘Tis naked racism, that’s what!
But this specious argument has obsessed some of our greatest and most humane minds. Mass consumption and the cult of fashion is a new aspect of human history and by no means unavoidable, (unlike copulation).
Too little food is not the problem and in fact we in the West have too much (although even here, it so poorly distributed that many of us rely on food banks). The aforementioned Mr Dorling informs us that all humans alive today weigh a total of 287 million tonnes of which 18.5 million tonnes is due to us being overweight (some 6%). But wait – just over a third of that percentage is due to North America alone:http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2458/12/439
‘Overpopulation has power as a folk myth…it is a myth in that one has to appeal to ever increasing numbers to make a convincing point that there is a definite limit to the human population. Overpopulation chimes with a certain sense that we all have, that our local world would be a more comfortable place without a few (often particular!) people.’
– Radstats Population Studies Group, ‘Moral Panic and Overpopulation’ 2011
Irresponsible and ‘science cultist’ media such as Christopher Nolan’s recent ‘Interstellar’, unlike books by responsible geographers like Dorling, are seen by tens of millions of people. The said film perpetuates the myth of humans facing extinction due to food shortages (of course, we are saved by, surprise, surprise, scientists). Even by Hollywood standards, many films dealing with the population explosion verge on propaganda and are extremely irresponsible. The fact of the matter is that the number of people the Earth has the capacity to feed has proven impossible to estimate – with such divergent figures being suggested as a low of 902 million in 1942 (notice that you are now one of seven billion) to a 1967 estimate of 147 billion. One should not expect much from pseudo-intellectuals such as Nolan, who it seems could not even bring himself to read a Batman comic before lensing his lauded ‘Dark Knight Trilogy’, in which Bruce Wayne overcomes witnessing the tragic death of both parents as a child and becomes a superhero…and then goes into an eight year ennui because his not-quite girlfriend died. Googling population growth before making a 165 million dollar movie largely about it was obviously beyond him (or Kip Thorne, the physicist who consulted on it).
I mean come on, they once published an article in no less than the journal ‘Science’ that the population would reach INFINITY (yes, you read that right) by 2026 (‘Doomsday; Friday November 13 2026, Science 132, Von Forester, Mora, PM, Amiot LW, 1960). Of course they did not mean it literally (I hope), but the lengths such people are willing to go to to make their point are more apocalyptic than the most fire and brimstone Alabama preacher on a funding drive for a new prayer hall.
Here’s the real story: an average child in a rich country will consume between 30-50 times more water than one in a developing country:http://www.interacademies.net/File.aspx?id=25028. One kid in France = 50 kids in Africa, at least when it comes to water. We can’t all live like we do in the West, that much is true. The solution is not for Africans to have less kids, it’s for us not to act like one of our children is as valuable as a classroom of Zimbabweans. It is obvious that even a small redistribution would be hugely helpful in allaying fears of the Nolan/Gates variety.
These people want to tackle birth rates in Angola and not the distribution of resources – because the latter is a far more difficult challenge.
And, yes, because they are a little racist.
There is also the fear that greater population and resource pressures combined with the indisputably declining birth rates in the First World will lead to a relentlessness demand for more equitable distribution of wealth. You could rename the whole ‘population time-bomb/planned parenthood lobby’ to ‘Fear of a Black Planet’. It’s more accurately descriptive anyway.
‘The primacy of the population-environment link is not substantiated by empiricle evidence. Environmental damage may be the result of a small number of individuals exploiting resources without regard to the social consequences of their actions’
– Radical Statistics Population Studies group report, 2012
Also, newsflash paranoid first world ‘intellectuals’ and ‘charities’: all studies done by everyone, ever, show that birth rates decline with increasing wealth and education. People in poor countries basically have a lot of children because a) many of them will die and b) in lieu of social welfare. So the best way to reduce birth rates and not end up with this ‘black planet’ that you fear is to try and raise their living standards to something like our own and enjoy the concomitant reduction in ‘blackness’ as their birth rates also fall to similar levels to ours.
The best way to reduce birth rates is to raise living standards in poor countries. Ah, but those pesky African babies again…
Climate change and population growth are real. But our reaction to them is irresponsible, unlikely to be effective and informed by a cult of science and liberal ideology.
Atheists (only certain militant ones though) are exceedingly fond of reminding anyone who will listen (and quite a few of those who will not) that as societies become wealthier and more developed (i.e ‘First World’), religious belief declines. So by their very own oft stated conclusion, wealth correlates with atheism, but since this is a bit embarrassing to say, they will sometimes say that rather it is ‘education’ which relieves one of a belief in God. But since both education and wealth are in greater supply in the West, they will perhaps forgive me for stating their own conclusion that atheism is a ‘First World Problem’.
It is abundantly clear that belief in God and religiosity is far more prevalent in the ‘non-first world’ and virtually all surveys and studies show this:http://www.pewglobal.org/2007/10/04/world-publics-welcome-global-trade-but-not-immigration/.
In fact there is a strong correlation between wealth and atheism even within most developed countries, showing people with more money, err sorry, I meant ‘education’, tending to be less religious.
Not that this gives atheists of a certain persuasion pause for thought – they go on to celebrate unlimited economic growth leading to concomitant Godlessness, such as this author who predicts atheism outstripping religious belief by 2041:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nigel-barber/atheism-to-replace-religion-by-2041-a-clarification_b_3695658.html. He is yet another deluded individual who sees secularism as the inevitable outcome of greater economic growth and universal education, as opposed to the at least equally likely scenario of a certain type of universal education and increased wealth rather themselves being the proximal causes of secularism. It has also escaped him that though certain economies are growing rapidly (China, Brazil, Russia), others are not and ‘development’ in Africa and Asia, the most religious places per capita, is as much of a misnomer as it has always been. If any further proof was needed, and as corollary evidence that some atheists and publishers – recalling that the ‘New’ Atheism is nothing more at inception than a book publishing phenomenon anyway – are willing to print the most offensive bilge possible, another author argues that not only is poverty to in fact be re-labelled ‘social dysfunction’, the greater religiosity we find amongst poorer (sorry, ‘socially dysfunctional’) people is causative of the latter and then takes this as a starting point for proof that morality is independent of religion, before hilariously invalidating his own argument by claiming that he can furnish us with an atheist argument for fighting poverty – i.e. atheists have a secular incentive for fighting poverty, since this will lead to more atheism. Which is about as moral as saying that we should feed the poor merely so that they may thus accept Christ into their lives (http://www.newrepublic.com/article/117131/religiosity-social-dysfunction-linked-pew-study). Unsurprisingly, the author is professor of ‘Evolution and Ecology’, kind of making my previous point about ‘EnvironMENTALism’ and science cults.
The article reminds me of a discussion with a particularity foul dispositioned yet famous public ‘intellectual’ who was trying to link, using the oft quoted ‘Scandinavian model’, human progress (and for this he took the crass indicators of a true materialist, the GDP) with a rise in secularism, which, lets face it, in most current forms, strongly presupposes a lack of religiosity. The idea was again that religion causes poverty, war and violence and as poverty is reduced by ‘The Markets’ (which it isn’t) so too will religious faith be.
I asked him why he did not consider the other glaringly obvious conclusion, namely that it is poverty which causes crime and violence and the greater religiosity of poorer people is a result of their relatively greater need for comfort and ideological sanctuary, true or not, relative to his favoured examples of Scandinavian feminists, who at the end of the day can take their solace, unlike Brazilian Favela dwelling children, in Victoria’s Secret (which we all know is not a secret at all but very obviously her vagina) and Louis Vuittons. He declined to answer.
So strangely, atheists do agree with Jesus and Muhammad, at least on the detail that you will find them amongst the poor.
As Voltaire said; ‘if God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him’. Why can’t atheists just accept that people living under terrible poverty and oppression (synonyms) have the most need of ‘inventing’ him?
Basically, this guy and the other are both intellectually obtuse, but the fashion for irreligiosity has made them feel like they are smart enough to be lecturing the rest of us from their secular pulpits – they have been so convinced of their superiority and intellect and repeatedly told that they are so clever, particularly vis-a-vis these poor unwashed ‘believers’, that they are lost in their own self delusion and hubris – resembling a man who masturbates compulsively and thinks that as a result of all this vigorous wanking he must be an excellent lover.
As some have rightly pointed out, religions were wise enough to promise a utopia only in the unseen hereafter: atheists are promising it right here in this world, the word made flesh if you will, delivered fresh to your door by the polished Gods of militant atheists – Free Markets (or anarchistic Socialism if you prefer) and Science. Anyone who has the remotest clue about human nature knows that this is in fact an absurd faith in ‘moral progress’ and more specifically the human will – the most ludicrous faith imaginable, as any reader of history would know.
John Gray, for my money Britain’s greatest living philosopher (and atheist) has observed very canilly that atheists and humanists are in fact profoundly repressed, like sexually paranoid Victorians. Regardless of their illusions of progress, they repress the religious urge found nearly universally and then like nuns consider themselves heroic for doing so. He is worth quoting at length from his aptly titled collection ‘Heresies’:
‘Liberal humanists repress religious experience – in themselves and others – in much the same way as sexuality was repressed in the straight laced societies of the past. When I refer to repression here, I mean it in precisely the Freudian sense. In secular cultures religion is buried in the unconscious, only to reappear – as sex did amongst the Victorians – in grotesque and illicit forms. If as some claim, Victorians covered piano legs in a vain effort to exorcise sex from their lives, secular humanists behave similarly when they condemn religion as irrational. It seems not to have occurred to them to ask where it comes from. History and anthropology show it to be a species wide phenomenon. There is no more reason to think we will cease to be religious animals than there is to think we will one day be asexual…
Whatever their disciples may say today, Karl Marx and John Stuart Mill were adamant that religion would die out with the advance of science. This has not come about and there is not the remotest prospect of it happening in the foreseeable future. Yet the idea that religion can be eradicated from human life remains an article of faith amongst humanists. As secular ideology is dumped throughout the world, they are left disoriented and gawping.
It is this painful cognitive dissonance…that accounts for the peculiar rancour and intolerance of many secular thinkers. Unable to account for the irrepressible vitality of religion, they can react only with puritanical horror and stigmatize it as irrational. Yet the truth is that if religion is irrational, so is the human animal. As is shown by the behaviour of humanists, this is never more so than when it imagines itself to be ruled by reason.
Here we have the paradox of secularism. Secular societies believe they have left religion behind, when all they have done is substitute one set of myths for another. It is far from clear that this amounts to an improvement’
Or, as G K Chesterton supposedly put it:
‘When a man stops believing in God he doesn’t then believe in nothing, he believes in anything’
Which also brings us nicely back to Voltaire and the necessity of inventing God should he not exist. And today we have a veritable proliferation of gods – from personal gods like money and hedonism to angry state sponsored deities like Communism, Free Markets, political ideologies and the pervasive cult of science. Whereas previously many died for religion, in the past century they have died for state sponsored atheism, The Diamat and historical materialism as well as nationalism. This indeed, is hardly progress.
In essence some atheists, such as the above, are so morally bankrupt that they do not realise that it is precisely the excess wealth that they posses which allows them to dispose of the need for the traditional comfort of God and religion, which gave meaning to the suffering that most of humanity is still mired in. Rather, they propose that the coping mechanism that people have consistently used or evolved through history, namely religion, is the cause and not the panacea for their suffering. The lack of insight is galling but to be expected – despite their protestations of the need to distribute wealth more equitably to promote the emancipation of mankind from the shackles of religion, militant atheists, who seem to be able to organise themselves very effectively when attacking religion, are inordinately handicapped when it comes to either setting up charities or relief foundations to actually do something about poverty and disease. When they have a free moment from taking credit to the improvement for humanity brought about by the relentless march of science (whilst simultaneously forgetting to tell us about the darker side of this march from granting us the ability to sterilize the planet with nuclear weapons six times over to scientific racism and the Nazis who’s scientists started the Space Programme on both sides of the Cold War, and ignoring the fact that most of the scientists responsible for developments in public health and medicine were theists), they resolutely fail to actually do anything about poverty: we have lots of faith based charities tackling poverty, and lots of secular ones. But where are the militant atheist ones? And how many of the secular charities are manned by militant atheists?
They are in fact nowhere, since despite atheists continual claims that you don’t need to believe in religion to me moral, it seems they themselves are unable to find practical ways to induce people to do good things without an invisible supernatural policeman, which would perhaps make them think that an invisible supernatural policeman may serve a social or evolutionary function: no such luck – here is a hilarious set of explanations, sadly typical, by an evangelical atheist group:http://www.positiveatheism.org/mail/eml9553.htm
My favourite is the one where the poor chap names a set of minor charities and then excuses polemical atheists on the basis that they are a ‘young movement’ and have not had time to get round to setting up charities to eradicate poverty and the poor fellows are still a ‘minority’. Well, they managed to get round to having a number of states (USSR to China to North Korea and Vietnam) where the totalitarian rulers assure us that the state religion is ‘Atheism’, and besides, they were just done reminding us that atheists were richer due to their atheism. But when it suits them, they lack the resources to help the poor. Convenient.
Of course I am not trying to say that atheists lack morality nor that they cannot be responsible for the best of deeds – but the fact remains that in the First World, far from being marginalised as they claim, Atheists are, like a segment of the gay and feminist lobbies, a protected minority that enjoy widespread approval from the media. It is now rarer to find a quiet unbeliever than it is a quite believer. Given their occupation of the cultural and political mainstream and hostility to traditional modes of belief and indeed life (but as usual, not the associated traditional forms of distribution of wealth), a certain type of vocal atheist needs to be challenged. If they are to hasten the departure of God and religion from public life, morality and law, then under the commonly understood proviso that things of long providence should be abrogated with caution, the alternatives must be be open to greater scrutiny than just assurances that we will soon all be Swedish and prosperous (and voting for neo-Nazi parties like many Scandinavians) due to the embrace of atheism.
Myths of progress are by their nature teleological, such as telling people that the increase in the irreligious in China or Europe is strongly correlated with or even the cause of it’s greater gender equality, education and wealth but failing to mention that the same correlation can be shown with suicide rates or voting for far right parties. In fact, as a competing myth to religion, assuming the latter is a myth as confrontational atheists despite their much vaunted ‘openness’ to correction are actually very sure of, atheism basically lacks appeal: it is like the art-house movie to religions’ ‘Summer Blockbuster’, a film about two (possibly gay) men smoking in a cafe which they feel has great existential meaning but most viewers feel sucks. That won’t stop it being heaped with rewards and in any case, popularity is never the arbiter of truth. But atheists have failed to account for the fact that religion must, by their own criteria, serve a evolutionary or social function. Its truth is of no relevance at all. They must show that these functions are unnecessary (problematic with anything that according to them evolves socially of biologically) or can be better served by alternative strategies.
Which brings us back to our wretched of the Earth – the religious poor. Presumably, in the atheist narrative, religion evolved to serve some purpose. They feel they can serve it better and must liberate people from their past illusions and wake them from their reverie. Many people, as long as they are suitably wealthy and undergo many years of secular education, tend to agree with them, much as seminarians once tended to agree with the Churches’ proclamations. But until they can show us how and have this view endorsed by humanity to a similar degree as religion is, they are analogous to a doctor who seeks to turn off the life support machine from a patient because he is concerned that it is noisy and of an inferior make, yet without being sure that he has a suitable replacement. Atheists have yet to invent their God. Attempts by Communists and scientists have been found wanting: the scientific afterlife and immortality of pseudo-scientific prophets such as Ray Kurzweil has not found the mass traction it needs to give people what they really want.
And what do people really want?
Holocaust survivor and Psychiatrist Victor Frankl proposed man’s innate drive is not for sex or survival as Darwin or Freud would have us believe but rather for meaning. Mankind can endure any how, even the unrelenting suffering of a concentration camp or the developing world, as long as he has a good enough why.
Religion has been that ‘why’ through history. Its truth is irrelevant to its utility. Atheism has thus far failed to compete.
It is a common error that you can ignore peoples’ search for meaning – after all the defining characteristic of minds is that they try to find patterns and then need to go beyond these to find causes. Telling people that the ‘why’ is unimportant and that the how is sufficient is literally against the subjective nature of mind as experienced by each person – the ultimate act of repression if you will. Knowing how something was done does little to relieve our need to know who did it or at least why, much like seeing the Pyramids and then realising that the stones must have been laid thus and thus so there is no need to look into the motivations of their builders would leave us feeling cheated. Scientific atheists are proud of repeating that science has explained things which in the past people attributed to ‘creative forces’ but they are committing an embarrassing error as well as underestimating the Ancients – like saying that one has explained ‘The Catcher in the Rye’ by demonstrating that it was written on a typewriter.
People, in general, do not find explanations such as coincidence, Quantum Big Bounces, self-generating multiverses or purposeless accidents to be satisfying (unless suitably indoctrinated by years of formal scientific education, and often not even then). And the pseudo-scientific cults accumulated around the proponents of these theories, the members usually having not even a rudimentary grasp of them beyond popular ‘science’ books that give a biased and comic book version of the actual state of the art, insist they derive understanding and meaning from them, much like a vampires’ familiar assuring him of how much he likes the taste of human blood.
Proud of telling religious people that they cannot face up to the truth of a cold, meaningless and uncaring universe, atheists failed to notice that they cannot face up to it either.
In fact, atheists have in a sense realised this and propose more easily digestible versions of their Lovecraftian ideas – the Multi-Verse replaces God as a creative force, Artificial Intelligence and the Technological Singularity replaces the Kingdom of Heaven for the meek and they find ‘selfish altruism’ in the struggle for reproductive fitness and sociobiology.
Yet these stories prove inadequate for most, as in their disdain for concepts such as God, many of the most vocal atheists, like many of the most vocal theists, fail to understand and appreciate what the concept of God actually means to man.
If they considered that to most people God is their name for the supreme ideal, the best and most beautiful thing conceivable or inconceivable, or something beyond that and past words, into the realm of poetic longing and man’s cursed dreams, (for most of his dreams are cursed, and yet without these he cannot exist) and from which maybe even language and thought themselves arise. The supreme object of love, and the companion when all others have passed on.
Or in terms perhaps atheists will understand and approve of, God is the best ever imaginary friend. They are in a hurry to tell the children (as they see us) that our imaginary friend isn’t real. But then who is going to protect us from the dark closets in our mind?
I am reminded once of a glorious exclamation by a Jewish Rabbi while debating the existence of God with an unbeliever: ‘Fool, there are many sound rational proofs for the existence of God, but they would avail you nothing, since God is so great he doesn’t even need to exist!’
And for most people, that’s really how it is. We have the idea of God and not his reality or essence. And yet it is enough to hold our hand when we look into those dark corners. Or as Nietzsche would call them, ‘The Abyss’. He realised all to well why this abyss looks back at us, for it too is sentient. Because it is within us. Or perhaps, we are within it, as he believed.
If the militant atheists had bothered to understand the utility and necessity of the concept of God, as exemplified by the poor and their persistent faith in him despite the multifarious forms of their suffering, they would concern themselves less with his existence and understand his necessity, as well as the danger of showing how brave they are in facing up to a meaningless and careless universe in which we are fundamentally alone. Because no-one can face up to that really, least of all them, which is why atheists have their own stories to impose meaning on it. Except, frankly, their constructs are woefully inadequate as ideas compared to God.
Darwin wrote towards the end of his ‘Origin of the Species’, that ‘there is grandeur in this view of the world’. But he was kidding himself and all those who followed in his wake – there really isn’t anything sublime, meaningful or transcendent in the idea of a struggle for survival by means of natural selection. To pretend otherwise is self delusion.
It has never occurred to these people that even if God did not exist, it might not be a good idea to shout this at the top of your lungs. What concept do they have to replace a supra-natural karmic calculator with? The Standard Model of Physics? Sociobiology? Selfish Altruism?
Why would people replace what some atheists contend is a necessary illusion (at the very least) with the dime store stories of these same atheists? They can neither comfort the sick, quell the anger of the oppressed nor give hope to the dying and make people believe that one day they will hold the warm hands of the ones they loved again.
If religion is a lie, then so too is atheism the peddling of cheap tonics and make believe potions.
I would like to quote what I heard a woman shout out at an anti-capitalist demonstration in Mexico. She screamed at the opposition to fear God for their transgressions:
‘God will punish you!’ she said.
‘That’s okay then, because lucky for us God doesn’t exist you whore!’ someone shouted back.
‘Then he is like your justice, you bastard’ she answered, quite correctly.
And like the grandeur and meaning of the militant atheists, she could have added.
Exaggerated Gay Rights
I want to clarify, ahead of the inevitable cries of homophobia, what I mean by ‘Gay Rights’.
Gay people have the right to life, they have the right to do what they want with their body and they have the right to not be harassed physically, emotionally or verbally for who they are. Further, they have the right (strangely never actually enforced for any group) to not be harassed by the media as minorities like immigrants and Muslims are and gays formerly were. They do not however have the unique right to publicise and demand state and educational approval for their personal sexual choices, any more than religious people or socialists or whoever have the right to demand that their ‘ideology’ is represented only in a positive light and to be taught in state schools.
Basically, gay people, like anyone else, can demand about their lifestyle the famous adage: ‘there are two things you can do about it: nothing or like it’. Most gay people are happy for people to accede to the first. But the militant gay lobby, if one is honest, is demanding the second.
‘Gay Rights’ is a major if not the prime concern of most Liberals as well as the Left in the West. It is of course hard to prove, but it certainly seems that most Western Liberals (and celebrities) expend more energy and concern on this issue than on nearly anything else. If we judge by the way the mass media such as Hollywood or television has taken up the cause and representation of homosexuals, they are far more concerned about this than poverty or wealth inequality. There is no ‘Will & Grace’ to familiarise us with African war orphans or alternatives to the exploitative global economic system we are labouring under. There is no ‘Orange Is The New Black’ for Palestinian amputees (or even homeless US Marines for that matter). And there is no critically acclaimed ‘Transparent’ which familiarises you with the daily struggles of a Sikh wearing a turban or a Muslim women in a headscarf instead of the pre-op transsexual depicted in that show. And it isn’t a representation issue, since there are a lot more Sikhs and Muslims than pre-op transsexuals, at least for now.
To be fair, the Left which expends so much energy on ensuring marriage equality for homosexual and other couples is largely the same community that is discontented with the financial crisis, the Iraq war and Islamophobia. But you would hardly notice from the relative distribution of their efforts.
This is because, like it or not, ‘Gay Rights’ are something of a First World Problem and are far easier to get backing for than trying to change the distribution of wealth or curbing Islamo- or Russo-phobia. Which is why Hollywood is so keen to challenge the traditional role of marriage but not the traditional role of wealth and power. In fact, shows like ‘Modern Family’ or ‘Friends’ which go to great lengths to remind us that the nuclear family and white picket fences are outdated, usually forget to remind us about Third World Debt or Capitalism being equally or more problematic than a lack of familiarity with homosexuality. Why Hollywood takes up this cause and hands out Oscars to straight actors for portraying gays or lesbians (thereby strangely taking some of the few roles that are open to them. It did the same thing with blind, deaf and other handicapped people though so it is pretty egalitarian in that respect), but hardly ever to someone portraying another type of minority, say a refugee or a Muslim, is because it is safe to do this in the First World. They, whoever pulls the strings, will allow you to make a big deal about gay rights at home and abroad because that doesn’t really change anything and isn’t a threat to their power, and yet it makes you feel like you are making progress. They don’t care – because they were never interested oppressing gays that much anyway. They were oppressing the same people who always get oppressed – poor people. If a hobo starts getting his own sympathetic sitcom on HBO, then watch the faeces hit the fan.
As a militant gay campaigner Peter Thatchell admitted, the changes seen in civil rights have come about by ‘internal lobbying’ (which itself is profoundly undemocratic) and ‘activism’. When he was told that the ‘Establishment’ will always concede the majority of civil rights issues as they do not pose a threat to the economic power of the establishment, he agreed and said that over time the powerful will always aquiece on [his chosen] civil rights issues if the opposition becomes voluminous. The real challenge comes when you attack the economy. [‘Revolution’, pp 197-98].
But then what decides the hierarchy of whose rights Hollywood celebrities come out for? Well, Thatchell just told us – capitalism does. And don’t some groups consistently get victimised without relief? For example, in Europe it’s minorities and immigrants. The Jews might catch a break for a while, but only if there is another to ‘take their spot’, like Gypsies or Muslims. At the end of the day, Thatchell is admitting that those who get their rights are those who can and do shout and lobby the hardest, not necessarily those most in need. He is not with Malcolm X in ‘Justice for everybody or justice for nobody’. Nihilistic perhaps, but fairer than deciding who gets what rights based on American sitcoms and lobbying.
Let’s get to the heart of the matter – are gay people one of the most oppressed communities in the first place? Specifically, given that everyone, including the straight white CEO’s of Fortune 500 Companies claim they are oppressed in some way, are gay people more, less or the same victimised compared to people who have black skin, the ‘wrong’ religious beliefs, wrong pay bracket or whatever?
Young people seem to be quite convinced that homosexuals are being oppressed terribly. I was speaking to some college students and they reminded me that homophobic attacks are common and until recently, it was considered fine to lock up homosexuals or even kill them with impunity and in some countries, it still is (‘Iran’ was murmured by someone as it always is in these conversations). I said that was true to some extent. But I wanted to know if this was something that these kids had worked out themselves or had been spoon-fed – because my subjective opinion is that fifty years ago many people thought that homosexuals were inhuman and filthy. Today many people think they are heroic and wonderful. My suspicion is that these two groups are in fact the same people – i.e those people who respond to social pressure and fashion. So I asked these kids: ‘People were locked up for homosexuality, it’s true. It even happened to that Alan Turing guy and he was a war hero. But didn’t they used to also lock up ‘insane’ people? Single mothers? Vagrants? In fact, if Charles Dickens is to be believed, not too long ago they were locking up people just for being poor. If being locked up is the criteria for still treating people as a persecuted minority and having special classes about them in school, are you having similar classes for all of those groups and Australia’s’ imprisoned asylum seekers or Syrian refugees who are still being held in detention centres? Or is it only for gay people?’
‘It’s two separate things’, said some bright spark. Perhaps. Or perhaps we are taking what we find in poor nations with non-existent or ineffective institutions and once found in our own nations (the West) when they were like that and calling it ‘homophobia’ when it is in fact generalised ignorance: people used to get locked up under any excuse and with the spurious accusation that they were insane, Catholics or homosexuals. It was not just persecution of gays – it was persecution of minorities in general. Some of these minorities have now become favoured and even fashionable. But others, like the poor and those with nationality or mental health issues – have not. They don’t get mentioned in equality and diversity classes as much and they don’t have politicians campaigning for their marriage rights or whatever. Maybe because unlike the gay constituency, which on average tends to be better educated and wealthier than the median population, these people are still at the bottom of that pyramid on the dollar bill. Just above the African babies.
‘You all learnt that gays are attacked’, I asked. ‘Do you know how many people were attacked or murdered for their sexual orientation as opposed to their race, religion or immigrant status? For example, do you know how many racist murders there are in the US compared to homophobic attacks, say in the last year?’. Of course, no one knew. But my point was why were they getting worked up about gay rights and gay rights alone? Do they know how much attention they should be lavishing on the various issues? Not a single person could tell me something like; ‘Well, there is a homophobic murder every week and a racist murder only every fortnight [not true by the way] so that is why we are relatively more worried about…’
The fact remains that no-one has to display their sexual orientation – it is not unavoidable like an accent or the colour of your skin. People do not have an infallible ‘gaydar’ by which they can reflexly attack people who are homosexual.
Unless of course you are arguing that sexual behaviour is what primarily defines you. Which is what the militant gay lobby and homophobes have in common. But no-one seems to realise this.
The college students, having been suitably conditioned by years of (selective) classes looked at me like I was Heinrich Himmler. ‘Gays have been killed throughout history’ another boy exclaimed. I agreed: however, not exactly in the way he thinks. When was the last generalised massacre of homosexuals? Quite apart from the difficulty in categorising or identifying gay individuals, were these kids seriously telling me that I should be as concerned about gay rights as I am about anti-semitism or racism which has led to massacres and holocausts? When was the last time six million gays were rounded up and executed in gas chambers? Or someone enslaved people for being gay and sent them to the New World to work on plantations? Or colonised or invaded a country for being ‘too gay’?
What did and does happen is that homosexuals are targeted by bigots and often murdered. This must be emphasised. But drawing any parallel with the history of people killed for their race, religion or ethnicity or indeed the Civil Rights movement in the US, Jim Crow or the plight of Native Americans is frankly offensive. No one has systemically tried to exterminate or enslave gays. And if they did, it would be much harder to do than with any other group.
We need to worry a lot about any killings of homosexuals. But we need to worry a lot more about the killing of ethnic minorities and Jews or whatever – because there has been that much more of it through European history. And so it is today as well. There are very likely many more attacks on immigrants in Europe than gays – but no-one cares.
I was not concerned that these children were worried about the killing of gays – that is a good thing – what concerned me was their lack of perspective: they seemed to think that homphobia was as big or even bigger than racism. And that is just not true.
Displaying your sexual orientation of any sort in public is not an obvious ‘right’. We don’t go to work and say, ‘Hey Frank, how’s it goin’? I simply must tell you, I love vag. Can’t stay away from it in fact. Just the other night, I was vaginally taking my wife, and let me tell you, it was something else’. Yes, going on about your sexual proclivities in public is a cultural issue, and yet another First World Problem that those in the Developing World would find distasteful. Granted, the gay lobby would argue that the fact that they are a minority orientation in general (yet in some professions, not-so minority) means that they feel marginalised and not confident of expressing their choices in public and thus fearful of being denied this ‘right’. We need to be blunt: is this really a ‘right’ in the first place? And if so, do we need to give counselling to gay and straight people who are shy about talking about their sexual preferences and proclivities in public to make them less oppressed? Its not as clear cut as it is made to sound.
Homosexuals, like women, are indeed made to feel uncomfortable in some professions especially ones which are quite homophobic (army, police). We also need to bear in mind that there are some quite gay dominated professions where heterosexuals can feel intimidated (men’s fashion, certain aspects of the arts). This cannot be helped – people are often more comfortable around ‘their’ group and though this is not a good thing, it is a fact of life. As for expressing one’s sexuality in public, yes, this is a concern for gays – chatting up the wrong man can get you beaten up. So can chatting up the wrong girl as a heterosexual man. So what? Being gay or lesbian gives you a easy ‘in’ as you are sometimes seen as sexually non-threatening by members of the same sex. This can turn to hostility when they discover that your interest is sexual after all. These things cannot be regulated as ‘civil rights’ issues.
The campaign to insure that homosexuals were not bullied, jailed or otherwise harmed was a legitimate one. The current campaign to recognise gay marriage, preferentially expose children to gay rights as opposed to other issues and to essentially criminalise those who do not approve of homosexual behaviour, is not. It comes at the expense of other ‘invisible’ minorities such as immigrants and Muslims, who get a a very rough ride from the same politicians and media outlets that are busy lionising homosexuals.
Homosexuals have gone from being a persecuted minority to being ‘cool’. Other minorities have not and likely will not. One of the reasons is that gay rights has become a ‘First World Problem’. It is, like feminism, no longer about the right to life or to vote but rather in fact about gay privilege (in fact gays were never denied the vote wholesale as they were never identified as a distinct group, as both the current Gay Rights and homophobic contingents are so keen to do). Privilege in representation in the media, privilege in representation in the education system and so on. And like all privilege, it comes at the expense of others. Every extravagance is someone else’s lost right.
The gay lobby, having achieved and surpassed it’s goals, is unconcerned, beyond lip service, about the plight of other unrelated minorities. In fact, the attention lavished on gay causes has detracted from other injustices and in any case, no one, least of all the militant gay lobby, is making sure that all minorities are getting equal representation: ‘Hey guys, we’ve got a lesbian on the show so well done but you know, 5% of the population is Muslim, but we never have any Muslim characters. Or how about a gypsy? Or an Asylum seeker?’ Why? Because that TV executive would get sacked. You know what you are going to keep seeing on ‘Orange is the New Black’? More lesbians. You know what you will never see? Any Muslims.
We have to face it – the gay rights lobby is laying it on a bit thick in the current climate. The debate has moved beyond the legitimate right to life and liberty (and I agree vehemently that this includes at the very least the right to sexual privacy for gays) to what constitutes the ‘good life’ and even how children should be raised. To what extent this lobby, much like the self-appointed Salafist spokesmen of the Muslim community, actually represents the voices and interests of the gay community is an open question, but it is certainly the case that their version of the ‘good life’ – for example that marriage is an institution that should be liberalised (but only to some) and that children are to be adopted by gay couples (but not single men) and that this is to be taught in schools and so on, is what the gay rights lobby is now advocating. If this was done by religious people, socialists or anarchists, lobbying for representation of their ideas in schools for example, people would legitimately be suspicious: ‘I don’t have a problem with Muslims, but I don’t want my son being taught about how great it is in school at my expense: I’ll reserve the right to teach my son what I think is the good life until he is old enough to know for himself’. But when it comes to the normalisation of gay adoption, marriage and essentially what many would view as the promotion of a ‘gay lifestyle’ (of a kind which is palatable to the gay lobby, not necessarily gay people themselves), then this is viewed as a normal and indeed progressive development. Perhaps it is, but then I would also like the rights of Gypsies and immigrants to be preached in state schools in at least the same manner. I find it hard to attribute the emphasis on gay rights to egalitarianism when this attitude is not extended to other groups such as asylum seekers or travellers (this is not necessarily the fault of the gay lobby though).
It is perhaps understandable that the gay lobby is heavily reliant on the media and political influence to promote its version of ‘the good life’. In this perhaps they are doing nothing wrong. At the end of the day, everyone wants to promote their version of the good life, first of all to their children and then to whoever else will listen. But the vast majority of gay couples, as Peter Thatchell has again pointed out, will never avail themselves of their gay adoption (or marriage) rights. This means that they very often have no children to pass on their version of the good life to. Except everyone else’s children. Gay lobbies are the same as religious, political or other ‘special interest’ groups: they want to promote and get endorsement for their version of civilization. And just like these other groups, they would like access to our children and educational institutes to do this. All of these segments of society are strong believers in the Jesuit maxim ‘give me the child until five and I will give you the man’. Just like religious or political groups wanting access to schoolchildren’s hearts and minds, we should be just as suspicious of gay rights organisations. When all is said and done, we have to reserve the right to choose what the good life is for us.
There was much celebration when Clause 28 was repealed, as it was thought by some on both the Gay Rights and homophobic sides to be about promoting homosexuality in schools. Regardless of where the truth lies, isn’t the case that apart from being the majority institution, heterosexuality was never ‘promoted’ in schools either? Nor is or was traditional marriage, abstinence or anything else – at least not for a long time now. We never had the ‘Timmy, today we are going to tell you that it is okay to be a straight male’ talk in school. Maybe it is because it is the majority orientation as I mentioned. Or maybe it is an entirely fictitious argument on both sides as school is, or at least reasonably should be, an institution for education and not social engineering or telling people to be gay or straight or socialists or Liberal free marketeers. But it has become that now hasn’t it? But only for certain issues (army and gays = good. Immigrants and asylum seekers = bad. Media, capitalism and democracy – do not mention).
The narrative has in fact swamped the civil rights movement in general. The over-emphasis on the gay right to marriage has detracted from the very real wage, education and even life expectancy differentials that continue to persist in unequal societies such as the UK on the basis of income and race. Far too much effort is expended by the Left and Liberals on making sure that the small minority of gay couples that want to adopt children get to do so, that gay marriages are recognised and that people who oppose this are made to feel and look like uber-Nazis, as opposed to ensuring that low income children get access to the top universities or people from ethnic minorities enjoy the kind of social mobility that they should. The gay rights lobby will assure us of their concern for said subjects but the inattention to them by the media and the gay lobby itself speaks volumes: there are no gay lobby groups complaining that ‘citizenship’, like marriage, is a fundamental right and should be extended to all or at least to those born here or who have lived here for long enough. It is, at the end of the day, a special interest group.
There are also secular arguments against gay marriage and adoption policies, which are now being effectively enforced in many places as human rights issues. Referendums are not held or as in the case of California, ignored when they do not result in a favourable outcome. Governments do not give married couples tax breaks and incentives because they like them. It is done on the basis that these couples will have children, that divorce may lead to unsupported females who sacrificed career for marriage etc. None of these apply to the vast majority homosexual couples. If the majority of gay couples do not choose to have children, it is unclear why they should on average get the same tax breaks and divorce rights as heterosexual couples. It is pointless to mention those heterosexual couples that do not have children because we are dealing with groups, and in general they do have children. But less so nowadays and a time may be envisioned when they too do not have a legitimate right to the state advantages offered to married people at the moment.
So in some respects, gay people have had a hard time. Yet in others, they get a lot of leeway. They are treated in some ways with less suspicion than ‘straight’ people people. If I wanted to go to a girls boarding school when I was fifteen, which as a boy I would very much have liked to, I would be prevented, presumably due to the distraction of complimentary genders which single sex schools try to avoid as well as the obvious risk that we would be sexually active. A lesbian girl however has no problem at all. If you want to take this analogy even further, girls cannot visit men’s toilets, but gay men can, since they are seen both as men and can approach men sexually, whereas as this is not allowed for complimentary genders. What if I don’t want gays in the men’s toilets for the same reason that women don’t, in general, want men in theirs? But no one has ever been homophobic or paranoid enough to suggest that. Ditto with the military: a gay man in a male squadron would enjoy as many sexual opportunities as a solitary man in an all female regiment. But we rightly assume the best – there is not a massive campaign to root out gays from the military any more or make them attend separate urinals or something. It’s not a big deal, but some corrective is needed to a true narrative of gay oppression which has become grossly exaggerated
Having acquired gay friends through my career, I am always surprised by how even some of the most well read and intelligent of them are waylaid by the gay lobby. Many Liberals remain blissfully unaware that in the US at least, gay issues enjoy the least approval – whether it is educational reform, legalising gay marriage or gay adoption – amongst ethnic minorities such as African Americans or Latinos. There is not a single survey that bucks this trend. Basically, a lot of people campaigning against racism, victims of economic and racial inequality etc, do not agree with the gay lobby on the very issue of what is and is not a civil right.
Many in the militant gay lobby do not see the contradiction of ignoring referendums on the issue of gay marriage and instead redefining it as an equality or human rights issue. It may well indeed be that, but can we then have a list of ‘approved’ human rights in addition to just gay marriage (in the US a living wage and basic health care would be a good starting point)? Bypassing the democratic process is often necessary – but it can’t just be for the Left or Liberals’ nor for that matter Republicans’ favoured causes, especially as these causes were not placed in a taxonomy or hierarchy in a democratic way in the first place.
Further, it is important to realise that redefining marriage to include two men or two women does not only affect young people (amongst whom it enjoys great approval, perhaps after years of positive television and movie reinforcement) but also redefines marriage for all couples, including those who are already married. Maybe a lot of people are not happy to have marriage redefined after the fact, much as existing citizens would likely not be over the moon if the meaning of ‘citizen’ was suddenly altered to include the millions of illegal refugees staying in the country. A process that effects everyone merits consultation – and if Dave and Moria down the street who have already been married for thirty years do not want to have their marriage made equivocal to that of two men, then they have a right to be heard – and a good way of doing this is a referendum. But the gay lobby in the US decided to go with the two most undemocratic ways imaginable to get their way – advertising (aka propaganda) through Hollywood and the liberal media (HBO etc) and lobbying.
When I tell my gay friends this, they either go into ‘you are a repressed homophobe’ mode or start informing me that African-Americans are not as educated (‘through no fault of their own’ they quickly remind me) as the rest of the population, and that is why they are perhaps a bit more ‘homophobic’ (since of course, refusing to approve of gay marriage is the same as hating gays apparently). Apart from the question of whether it is the mere act of education or rather what is being taught that is making people who are more educated less ‘homophobic’, this is a re-iteration of the ‘dumb people are racist and educated people are less racist’ argument. There is a lot of evidence for this and it may be true. Or education is more readily available to more of the population in wealthier countries. And when there is plenty to go round, people don’t want or need to rock the boat in race riots. Who knows.
Another issue that is ignored by both homophobes and the gay lobby is that the love affair between Liberals, secularists and the gay rights lobby is quite possibly a marriage of convenience. In essence, the rough rule of thumb is that anything which was considered ‘bad’ in Christian sexual ethics or ‘traditional patriarchy’ is considered ‘good’ by Liberals. So Christians emphasise chastity, therefore promiscuity is venerated by Liberals and so on. Thus, like feminism and atheism, homosexuality is seen as heroic by many liberals not in and of itself (as evidenced by the propensity amongst many Liberals to find homosexuality ‘funny’ and make homophobic jokes – taking Madonna as a recent example:http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/madonna-faces-criticism-for-using-the-word-gay-to-negatively-describe-superfood-kale-9280788.html) but rather due to it contradicting traditional or Christian values, which Liberals and post – enlightenment European intellectuals generally, have declared war on.
In fact, I am quite sure that if the Bible recognised the marriage of two men, Liberals would be campaigning for this not to be taught in schools.
Uncomfortably for my friends, I point out that Blacks and Latinos in the US are also more religious than other groups. Most in the African-American movement do not see their cause related to that of gay marriage in any way. This is an inconvenient truth, much like the genuine incredulity with which the issue of Gay Rights is seen in the Developing World. No doubt the gay lobby will put this down to ‘their lack of education’ (which is their politically correct way of saying that they are too stupid to know better). I would suggest that there is an actual dichotomy between legitimate gay rights (life, happiness, freedom from all forms of harassment and so on) and gay exceptionalism and special interest lobbying.
It is clear that not supporting gay marriage is increasingly equated with homophobia (no celebrity can get away with not supporting ‘the cause’, which shows that ideological hygiene is being enforced rather well in some circles) and that despite the British governments’ declarations to the contrary, at some stage religious institutions will be challenged as to why they refuse to host gay weddings. This is because all special interest groups forget something important; namely that you have the right to disagree with them. The gay lobby, and by this I mean its more militant wing, never stopped to ask if parents have the right for children not to be taught about homosexuality. Whether we agree with this or not, neither we nor the gay lobby knows the origin of ‘behaviour’. Is it something we are born with a propensity for, whether it is a predilection for chocolate or certain sex acts, or it is learned? In the absence of this information, namely, what makes one gay, many parents, especially the religious, do not want their children to be taught about gay lifestyles or even heterosexual lifestyles for the fear that this may influence their development. A lot of people want their children to grow up to be heterosexuals or football players or concert pianists. They then do their best to influence their development along those lines. What this says about the child’s autonomy is interesting but the fact remains that many people will promote a heterosexual ideal by contrasting it favourably against a homosexual one, which lets face it, will be the main rival. To what degree parents will be able to do this in the future is in question. Of course, gays and other minorities who would like to see their lifestyles normalised will understandably disagree, but the line between preventing bigotry and normalisation and promotion is not at all clear.
It appears that the Russian Government wants to stop us from telling children under sixteen that being gay is ‘fine’. The question is do they or we have that right? Is it a right or is it discrimination and hatemongering? It is not as clear cut as it seems. But likewise, the gay lobby is trying to establish a ‘New Normal’ too. Illustratively, partly by a television show called ‘The New Normal’.
Strangely, they are both trying to get at young minds to make them either like or dislike homosexuality. Possibly because, like Thatchell, they believe in the power of advertising and lobbying. I remember a Michael Moore documentary showing a clip of what he presumed was a bigot saying; ‘Not everyone who sees an advert for a Mercedes will buy one. But some will’, while referring to family values being undermined by the education system and the teaching of sex education in schools, or some other target of American Liberals mockery. But in fact the alleged bigot is quite right – arguing otherwise is tantamount to saying that advertising doesn’t work, which is patently and demonstrably false. Many parents, and if we are honest, they are virtually all non-Liberal and in the main religious, feel that the way homosexuality is portrayed in the media and schools, far from preventing bigotry, actually makes some young people who would not have otherwise considered it try a homosexual lifestyle. In the absence of a comprehensive answer to the question ‘what is the proximal cause of human behaviour?’, they may have a point. We don’t know. The changing attitudes towards homosexuality could be due to more enlightened education which puts us in touch with a better view of human rights and wrongs. Or it could be due to effective advertising by the gay lobby, much as the anti-gay bigots once effectively presented their own ‘advertising’. The problem really occurs when one side gets state backing, as in Russia. But in fact in much of the West, it is the gay lobby that has secured state backing.
The British Empire, and specifically ‘The Raj’, is often given a hard time for their deployment of the famous policy of ‘divide and rule’ – the rather elegant idea that you can stop people fighting you if they are too busy fighting each other.
This idea has of course been far too useful to be allowed to pass into the dustbin of history and has been repeatedly revived by fascists, nationalists and (ir)religious bigots through the ages. Most recently we have seen Salafists and Islamophobes trying to precipitate a war between 1.3 billion Muslims and the majority of the rest of humanity. They will then presumably use the conditions of fear and insecurity that this inevitably generates to offer us protection and to take our freedoms (and money), which we will gladly hand over because as they very well know, whenever there has been a choice between freedom or justice and security, people will always choose security.
And the mother of all divide and rule polices as well as the most destructive conflict imaginable, one that makes dividing Muslims or any other group off from the others seem insignificant by comparison, is the obvious aim of liberal Feminism: men X women.
Like all of our First World Problems, we are busy trying to export this to the developing world, where we are very concerned about Afghan girls schooling and not so much about the equally unschooled Afghan boys being shot in the face by terrorists. However, perhaps less so than any of the others, we have met with limited success – the conditions of wealth which are required prior to this kind of self interest group coming to the fore are just not present in most of the developing world. Therefore, feminism is claiming nearly all of it’s victims in the West, for now.
The ideology behind real world, mass media feminism and not the indefinably vague feminism of many peoples’ imaginings (in this it is like the ‘benign’ and militant forms of nationalism – only the latter actually exists) is an alarming development of Western civilization for three very obvious reasons:
1) Believing in the concept of ‘The Patriarchy’, central to feminist theory and discourse, can lead to no other logical conclusion than that men are worse than women as a group, If men, for whatever reason from evolutionary biology to brute physical strength, have kept women oppressed via a gender based structure in men’s favour, it is impossible to come to any other conclusion than on average, men are ‘worse’ than women, which is exactly what feminists believe. And they aren’t afraid to say it, enjoying as they do, a heroic and protected status from Liberals and the media.
2) Like all the other ‘isms’, Communism, Fascism, Capitalism and Salafism, it is not in any way about justice or equity but privilege for a special interest group. There is already a word for people who want fairness and equality: it is called ‘egalitarianism’ – but that is not what feminists want. Just as capitalism is about the privilege of those who already have money and Communism is the same for ‘workers’, usually to the expense of agricultural labourers, feminism is about female privilege. If there was such an institution as ‘Masculinism’ (which alarmingly is starting to emerge on the Internet, perhaps as a natural reaction to the excesses of feminism), we would be rather quick to realise what was in fact afoot.
3) As such, it has a dangerously polarised view of the world and looks at facts unilaterally – we are forever reminded that women did not receive the vote until 1918, replete with the obligatory mention of suffragettes diving under horses, but no one mentions when men got the vote. Which was actually in the same year. The only people who had the vote before that were (very) rich men. Except men had to contend with the small issue of compulsory military service which, you know, women’s activists, including the perennially lauded Emily Pankhurst, were not in a hurry to extend to themselves. The ideologically consistent forbears of today’s feminists were however most keen to ensure that those pesky men went off to fight and die for ‘The Patriarchy’, which obligingly favoured them to be machine gunned in the trenches of WWI, often at the insistence of said feminists:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_feather
Let me once again be clear – there is no doubt that men do and have done dreadful things to women – they are responsible for most rape (including that of other men), and some 90% of violent crimes or homicides.
But this is because men are humans and surprise, surprise, humans are flawed. In fact, human flaws follow a kind of ‘Anna Karenina’ principle. Tolstoy noticed that all happy families are much the same, but each unhappy family is unhappy in it’s own unique way. Men are dreadful in ways which befit their biological and social opportunities to be so – for example, greater physical strength allows them to hurt people weaker than them, namely women. But this is not the result of some gigantic conspiracy called the ‘patriarchy’ but rather the inevitable consequence of biological and psychological human nature. Women are just as ready to hurt people weaker than them – namely children, as we shall see shortly.
Feminists have radicalised people in the West and women in particular so thoroughly that they cannot see what is in front of their very eyes – that human fallibility expresses itself differently in men and women. But it’s expression is inexorable in both.
If we want to demonise men in particular, as the media chooses to do, it is easily done. Yet we can do the same to women. Sadly this needs to be done because far too many men and women are radicalised by a fact-free feminist narrative and will simply not be corrected without the harsh attacks on their gender roles that men are expected to endure on a daily basis.
I recall a boy who was persistently racist to me in school Middle School. I realised that the best way to stop him was, like with any bully, to give him a taste of his own medicine. I was even more repugnantly insulting to him. Of course, his feelings were hurt. But he stopped calling me names. I like to think he learnt empathy from this. Perhaps I am naive.
So lets now see if we can construct something similar to a Liberal feminist dialogue from a male perspective.
People are today so conditioned to see men and men alone as perpetrators of heinous crimes that few will accept the following account that being murdered by ones’ mother, is the leading cause of death under one year of age in Westernised societies:
”Despite the commonplace nature of these incidents, we are so mystified and horrified by the stories of mothers killing their offspring that we perceive each story as isolated, as disconnected from-rather than consistent with-what we know about human society. So we are surprised to learn that in the United States and throughout the world, the population under one year of age is at great risk of death from homicide. Their killers are more likely to be their own mothers than anyone else.”
‘Mothers Who Kill, Their Children’, Michelle Oberman, Professor of Law at DePaul University
Oberman concluded that juries [in the US] were; “loath to hand down murder convictions for mothers accused of killing their own children, and that such juries were even more reluctant to impose draconian penalties”.
Journalist Patricia Pearson also commented on the disparity of treatment of men and women in child homicide cases.
“Most women aren’t incarcerated for infanticide. Of those who are even convicted, about two thirds avoid prison, and the rest receive an average sentence [in the US] of 7 years”.
I want to mention here that this is pertinent to the killing of neonates and infants only – men resume their usual dominance when it comes to murder of older children.
We have had news coverage ad nauseum about the male to female ‘pay gap’ (a myth exploded so many times that it’s ability to come back makes me think it should get it’s own series of slasher horror films like ‘Jason’ from Halloween), but how the ‘sentencing for killing children gap’? Are we going to see feminists campaigning for harsher sentencing for women? Of course not.
And anyway, we have a ‘Deus Ex Machina’ to explain all bad behaviour by women – ‘The Patriarchy’ made them do it. Which interestingly agrees with what misogynists said all along, that women are not capable of being independent agents – both feminists and misogynists agree that complex female behaviour is out of their own volition, whether due to hormones and gender (as misogynists assert) or patriarchy (as per feminists), it matters not. So perhaps feminists are actually amongst the worst purveyors of sexism.
We are keen to portray men as murderers and paedophiles – with some justification, but when a woman abandons her child or even kills him, we are invariably taught to have sympathy for her. Which brings us to the central contradiction of feminism – it wishes to maintain the idea of a ‘disposable male’, and nothing is to be done about dying in wars, military conscription, dangerous jobs such as mining, working on oil rigs and manual labour nor the concept of ‘women and children first’ which are male preserves but yet further privilege is to be secured under the banner of unfair ‘advantages’ for men.
Feminists wish to inherit the world which they claim men built…and then evict them from it. Oh and can you please keep doing all the dangerous and dirty jobs as well as getting harsher prison sentences and less funding for your medical treatment http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-20875488 while we burn at the stake anyone, even if it is the Prime Minister of England, who refuses to call him or herself a ‘feminist’: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2826985/Feminist-T-shirt-women-paid-living-wage-MoS-expos-45-Miliband-reveal-truth-feminists-shameless-defence-sweatshops.html.
But of course. And would madame like me to lick her Jimmy Choo’s while I’m at it?
Men are violent for hitting women but women committing the vast majority of child abuse, well that’s just life (never ask if men became violent in part due to being hit by women:http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/child-abuse-and-neglect-statistics.html…and what about women aborting foetuses until term (as UK law permits)? Well that’s a ‘right’. It’s her body. Never mind that neither scientists nor feminists bothered to define when life starts or even what it is (even if the Church got it wrong, at least it tried). But abortion is not murder, or even foeticide. Why? Because we said so and we need no more than public opinion. And if we don’t have that, we’ll manufacture it. So the one third of women who will have had an abortion by the time they reach their subfertile years in the West are neither killers nor irresponsible for not using widely available contraception.
And a foetus is not ‘alive’. Why? Just. If I get an abortion at the 24 weeks it is a ‘foetus’ – if that same foetus is born prematurely and put in an incubator then it is a ‘baby’ and killing it is ‘murder’. Go figure.
A man drugs his wife and causes her to have an abortion is charged with a sentence equivalent to murder https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/man-who-slipped-girlfriend-abortion-inducing-drug-spared-life-in-prison – but the foetus isn’t a person and the woman could have aborted the same child with no censure, so…?
The ‘patriarchy’ is so favourable to men, that as well as sending them off to die on foreign battlefields in their millions while women stay behind and uh…work in factories (nice work if you can get it in WWII, although even most of that was done by men unfit for military service), it even compels under-age boys raped by women to pay child support:http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/09/05/nick-olivas-alleged-rape-victim-_n_5773532.html
Divorce laws, which basically assume that a vagina is so valuable that it’s ‘rent’ should be paid even after you have ‘moved out’, as well as glaringly unjust child custody laws are another place where the ‘patriarchy’ failed to look after the interest of the patriarchs.
Yes, yes, I know that a minority of feminists in their more lucid moments tell us that the patriarchy harms men too but since they insist that the patriarchy is a male construct, it is a bit like saying that Nazism is bad for fascists too.
As well as ‘forgetting’ to send all of these women whom men hate so much to go off and fight in all wars, ever, they have also, the evil bastards, neglected to worry about womens’ rights in the seventies, during the same time they were busy being shipped off to be shot in the jungles of SE Asia. Strangely, feminists did not want to equalise conscription, much like the First World War and Miss Pankhurst’s understandable omission.
It’s alarmingly easy to make women look like military service dodgers who are now keen for front line duties from which they were ‘kept’ by men, coincidentally at a time in history when technology means that women can participate more safely (and ‘fight’ remotely with drones and avoid all those pesky G- forces and the high mortality in training that male fighter pilots have been ‘enjoying’).
I mean lets face it, men are controlled by their dicks – give them half a chance and they will cheat. (Not that they are any good with said dicks – if feminists and the media are to be believed, heterosexuality for women is a necessary evil and the only really fulfilled women are lesbians or at worst bisexuals or perhaps those furnished with a man who has a body like David Gandy and the personality of a emotional tampon. Strangely, according to most sources young women are raised with now, men don’t know how to please women but women know how to please men. Why? Because women are just better silly! Although this is changing too, with girls magazines having evolved from telling young girls to practice kissing on their pillow to making them insecure about their ability to fellate and be sodomised by their ‘lover’). So that’s why ‘the patriarchy’ ensured that paternity fraud, a woman having someone else’s child and making another man raise it thinking it is his (which may be as widespread as 10-20% of the UK population), is not an offence (unlike failure to pay child support). And ‘the patriarchy’ is so pro-man that they even made a law in England that to get your ‘own’ child’s paternity tested, you need the mothers’ permission. Which is like asking the suspected criminals’ permission before opening and investigation into a joint venture:http://www.canadiancrc.com/Newspaper_Articles/Scotsman_96_percent_of_women_are_liars_09DEC04.aspx
If anything, it is more likely that there is a giant conspiracy called ‘The Matriarchy’ that shirks military service (but gets the vote anyway), manipulates the justice system to ensure lighter sentencing for the same crimes, has child homicide redefined as ‘infanticide’, foeticide redefined as ‘choice’, decriminalises paternity fraud and adultery, hands out mens’ money to you after divorce even though you are ‘equal’ partners (because you gave up your ‘career’), controls the healthcare system to ensure that female diseases receive preferential funding and generally manipulates society and the media to ensure that men get all the ‘best’ jobs such as bin men, miners, road maintenance, policing, firemen and working on oil rigs (oh, the glamour!), and also makes sure that men have huge numerical advantages when it comes to homelessness and substance abuse as well as committing suicide.
And if that sounds pretty far out there, note that the feminist case is basically the same. I said at the start that there is no way to view feminism as it exists in the West without seeing men as bad. The irony is that it has now led men to think the same about women and like all of the worst ideologies through history, it will, perhaps deliberately, create the problem it claims to solve.
The reality has actually oft been stated by misogynists – since humans are rarely 100% right or a 100% wrong – the modern world is in fact largely a male construct, and there is a big woman-shaped gap in the history of science, philosophy and art. It is just that misogynists and feminists explain it in different ways – the former by reference to women’s alleged incompetence and the latter with reference to a giant male conspiracy. Regardless, it is men who have sufficiently sanitised said world with ‘male’ technology and male military and police service, and yes, ‘male’ blood, to make it safe enough for women to move around in public without fear of being clubbed and taken back to some cavemen’s residence to be chained to the sink. For all of it’s flaws, this society is a male artefact. But apart from complain that it’s flaws are the function of male defects – which may be true – feminists present no solution other than that the keys to the kingdom be handed over to them. The evidence offered in the service of this questionable strategy – itself grossly sexist as it assumes women more capable than men – is utter bilge like the fact that women are being prevented from entering the sciences and progressing beyond middle management.
Yet in recent years, the vast majority of people entering medical and law schools are women, some seventy percent. It is indeed strange that biology and engineering as well as the male preserves of maths and physics are left devoid of women, yet ‘the patriarchy’ (yes, I’m going to keep putting it in apostrophes to annoy you) is handing over hard to get medial and law school places to women. No matter – men are to be blamed for women’s failure to dominate those hard science subjects also, for it is fine to blame flaws on one’s gender – as long as that gender is male of course. Males can be inherently predisposed to blocking women from hard sciences but women of course cannot be predisposed to entering medicine preferentially to physics, because, well you know.
We harp on about the lack of good roles for women over forty in Hollywood. Well, there are lots of roles for actresses like Sandra Bullock (50), Julianne Moore (54) and Meryl Streep (65), but less for actresses (or actors) who relied on their looks and sexuality when younger, because said sexuality has a well documented shelf life (and because like Matt Damon for men’s roles of ’30 to 40′ years, these three women are hogging most of the good roles for mature actresses as a cursory glance at the numbers of movies they are in reveals).
And yes, women do get one dimensional roles in movies. It is not a good thing. But when was the last time you saw a women being gunned down as a faceless henchman? That’s is the exclusive and unenviable role of men – much like being the victims (and consumers) of violence in both film and video games in general. And how often do we see women as villains? Yes, they are not portrayed as ‘the hero’ – they also get away with not being portrayed as out to destroy the world, psychopaths, paedophiles and rapists as well. It isn’t all bad. In fact, we are now going back over some of the few female antagonists in cinema history and justifying their insane actions – as in the case of the evil Fairy Godmother in ‘Maleficent’. Perhaps in a few years someone will make a film explaining that Blofeld and Saruman were ‘misunderstood’.
The fact is that women, being humans, have problems and challenges and yes, discrimination. But feminists are ‘glass half-full’ every day of the week. Since they want not just better roles for women, but female privilege, they cannot appreciate that though roles for women suck, there is a sunny side in that they are not as frequently depicted as villains or eviscerated or decapitated as men on screen (or pixel). And there is a reason that a girl is usually the one to survive in horror movies isn’t there Jamie Lee Curtis?
Or how about the observation that women can make a very good living based solely on how they look and the lack of good jobs in underwear modelling for men? In fact, there is a massive gap when it comes to both the number of jobs in modelling as well as the wages between men and women. Feminists are seemingly happy for women to be objectified, as long as they are the ones doing the objectifying and getting paid for it. Much as with gay men, there are lots of menial and not so menial jobs dominated by women. Know any male supermodels? Should we look to close the wage gap between male and female models and porn actors or just between sports-people and CEO’s as feminists would like us to?:http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/article/TMG10366056/Top-earning-male-model-makes-40m-less-than-female-counterpart.html
There is a whole industry, with TV shows such as ‘America’s Next Top Model’, trying to persuade us that modelling, dominated by women, is a ‘skill’ and that ‘not everyone can do it’. The rest of the media chimes along.
In fact, modelling is no more of a skill than being born with blue eyes or curly hair. There is no such thing as ‘the walk’ to master or being ‘fierce’. It is a ‘profession’ based entirely on how you look and how tall and eating disordered you are, as well as whether you have the ‘confidence’ to take most if not all of your clothes off in public, which in turn is again ultimately dependant on how you look. Women getting jobs just because of their gender and the way they look, the modelling and sex-worker pay advantages that they enjoy…well, feminists don’t care. Because as we already said, they are not egalitarians.
I mean, how many guys do you know who make a fantastic living or even get a job in a shop selling clothes just because of the way they look? But I know lots who have to work on the railways and military as well as oil rigs just because they are men.
We must also take with a pinch of salt what feminists tell us women ‘need’ – whether that is more computer science places at university or more diverse roles in films, since feminists have about as much democratic mandate as the ‘mass’ media and indeed misogynists themselves. What the frightening backlash by feminists against E.L James, author of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ showed is that when women choose the ‘wrong’ type of entertainment media, feminists are prepared for a lynching. James’ novels became some of the best-selling books of all time, especially amongst women. But since they are seen as being ideologically inconsistent with feminism (virgin girls, men actually pleasing women in bed, God forbid!), a witch-hunt was instituted and it was only the legions of her readers and fans that protected the author from some of the worst bile in print, since feminists saw they were on the wrong end of this battle and decided to ‘live to fight another day’.http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/commentators/yasmin-alibhai-brown/yasmin-alibhaibrown-on-fifty-shades-of-grey-do-women-really-want-to-be-so-submissive-7902818.html.
Yes women are free, free to do anything. Except disagree with feminism.
We have freed you from being chained to the sink of the patriarch so that you may be chained to the desk of the capitalist. Indeed. But is this progress?
People are ashamed to be called housewives and it is seen as regressive. So where is the proof that work equals happiness any more than a man to kiss goodbye in the morning and a white picket fence with 2.4 children? Why is one bad and the other good? Feminism has no answers just tropes and empty memes. In reality, it is merely another iteration of secular liberal capitalism, which is why it has pretty free reign – it assists capitalism: both romantic love, for example, between men and women and the nuclear family are potential rivals to the state for allegiance and to capitalism for distribution of wealth (namely, to your lover or children as opposed to THIS BAG WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY/BEAUTIFUL/’FIERCE’).
To people of any gender who are not pre-radicalised, which is what extremist and exclusivist ideologies like Misogyny and Feminism do at the outset to ensure that people brains are sufficiently deactivated and empty to allow easy infiltration of increasingly ridiculous ideas, it is actually clear that the world-view of feminism is about as useful to women as hatred of women has been to men. Feminism is in fact, besides agitating men for female privilege as distinct from equality, a complete intellectual vacuum that cannot even decide if being double penetrated on camera in hardcore pornography is a ‘woman’s right to do what she wants with her body’ and thus evidence of ‘men not controlling a woman’s sexuality’ (except in the minor detail by sodomising her on camera) and therefore female empowerment or in fact degrading. What they are good at is placing the blame for everything that happens to a woman and her personal choices at the door of men, thereby making women moral non-entities. When Gloria Steinham was quizzed about what Miley Cyrus’ ‘twerking’ had done for the feminist movement, she used it as an opportunity to blame ‘the patriarchy’ for making her do it. Apparently, this multi-millionaire entertainer who was confident enough to display her, er, ‘camel toe’ before a television audience of hundreds of millions, is in fact a meek oppressed female who was unable to be taken seriously by men – so felt compelled to pole dance in her underwear to be ‘noticed’.
And what about the sexualisation of young women or the falling age of puberty amongst girls? Never mind that. Those evil men forcing poor Miley to strip-tease them, that’s the real issue here. The bastards. Hilariously, the ‘Huffington Post’ insisted aggressively that Steinham and her woefully emotional and inadequate ‘it’s never woman’s’ fault’ tirade be deferred to on this matter and no further discussion be allowed. You know, how Gloria Steinham is like, Our Lord and Saviour now.http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/14/gloria-steinem-miley-cyrus_n_4097006.html
It is left to a (male) child psychologist like Oliver James to point out the harmful effects of ‘selfish capitalism’ and it’s willing ally feminism on women. You won’t hear anything truly useful from the vast majority of feminists (with exceptions such as Naomi Wolf, now herself under sustained bombardment from feminists for breaking ranks) because like I said, beyond ‘Mansploitation’, feminism is a black hole of ideas, sucking in intelligent female minds and transforming them into sexist bigots.
Women being paraded around in their underwear – strongly correlated with eating disorders, sexual dysfunction and low self esteem in female consumers of advertising. Good or bad? Empowerment or exploitation? ‘Don’t know – it must be the patriarchy’! Young girls undergoing puberty earlier as well as being sexually active earlier year on year since the 1950’s: good, bad or indifferent? ‘Uhhhhh…can I go with ‘Patriarchy’ again please Johnny? Or perhaps I’ll opt for ‘all sex between men and women is rape” (Or as feminist icon Catherine McKinnon later helpfully ‘explained’: ‘sex [between men and women] and rape are difficult to distinguish’:http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Catharine_MacKinnon).
Girls whose father has left the home due to divorce or separation undergoing puberty an average of six months earlier than ones whose parents remained together. Even in intact homes, child stress and discord accelerates the onset of puberty in girls (with the onset of puberty itself being the strongest predictor of sexual activity). What do you reckon girls? ‘I pick the patriarchy as expressed through the nuclear family!’
How about Silverstein’s studies which showed that ‘thinness’ and ‘competence’ are linked in women’s perceptions? Silverstein (a man so not to be trusted) showed women silhouettes of female bodies and asked which ones they preferred. Women who picked smaller breasts and buttocks were also more likely to be educational high achievers and choose traditionally ‘male’ careers. Isn’t this gender denialism and unhappiness with ones own body as opposed to ‘empowerment’? ‘This too is obviously due to the patriarchy!’ Furthermore, eating disorders are more common amongst academically ‘high achieving’ girls and more common for those from fee paying as opposed to state schools. It was also found that female undergraduates are more prone to engage in binge eating if they felt that their mothers were ‘dissatisfied with their career performance’. ‘Matriarchy? God forbid!’.
Amongst women who had brothers, binging was more common if the father reported that his son was more intelligent than his daughter and amongst women who reported that they wished that ‘they had been born as a boy’. So surprise, surprise, the conclusion is that women who aspire to traditionally male roles also aspire to a male body shape. Silverstein’s coup de grace was that he correlated bust to waist ratios of models in magazines since the beginning of the century with the proportion of women working as professionals for each decade up to 1980. When women were working harder academically and professionally, male body shape was in vogue.
In short, rather than allowing women to come into the workplace and academia on their own terms, Feminism has accommodated exactly what misogynists have said: it has literally turned women into men. And lets face it, they are very poor imitations of men. Like all humans, women are the best at being themselves and very poor at being someone else, hence the eating disorders. Let me guess: ‘Patriarchy’, right?
Rather than do anything about the meta-analysis of twenty five studies that showed television images of the female body’s detrimental effect on women vulnerable to eating disorders, feminists choose to go on ‘slut walks’ in major cities to show that they are ‘in charge of their bodies’ and never ‘deserve’ to be raped. Except they aren’t in charge of their bodies – television and their expectations are. This kind of fantasia and confusion is why the feminist movement is unable to have a consistent view on pornography or prostitution; being about female privilege and not equality, it basically seeks to justify anything a woman does, even when it is bad for them – so a woman in pornography is probably being exploited but at the same time, well, she is getting paid and in turn exploiting the (mainly) sexually disempowered men paying to consume the porn as well as having the ‘power’ of faceless men jerking off to her image so…
But as feminist Andrea Dworkin rightly put it,
‘the Left [she means you too liberals] cannot have it’s whores and it’s politics too’.
Except it can and does, doesn’t it Andrea?
Likewise with prostitution: ignoring the financial incentive, feminists cannot conceive of any view on the problem, or whether it is a problem, beyond blaming men. So in Scandinavian countries the solution has been criminalising the use of prostitutes, not prostitution itself – lets blame men and men only, again, reducing female agency to that of an avatar of male wishes and desires. ‘Belle Du Jour’, who published her best-selling memoirs as a ‘high class call girl’ (assuming a call girl can be ‘classy’), made millions from it and is a self proclaimed feminist, would provide a useful counterpoint. But according to Scandinavian feminists, the men who paid Belle should be charged and she is not responsible for undertaking prostitution as a student which she admits was to pay for a handbag and underwear addiction. But if a woman wants to use her sexuality, in the media, at a job interview by unbuttoning the top two buttons of her shirt or wearing that skirt, on a slut walk or even in prostitution or pornography (which, if you are honest, is just a form of prostitution for men and women as they are paid to have sex, much as people would hire ‘performing’ prostitutes at orgies in the past and watch them, whereas today, we can just film it) then it’s fine. Because, well, everything a woman does is fine. And if it isn’t, it must be man’s fault.
Perhaps, contrary to the Church, feminists think that women are not only not the carriers of ‘Original Sin’ but free from all sin whatsoever. Personal choice, as always with liberalism, is the ‘god’ here. But only for women.
It never occurs to feminists that if sex is legitimately for sale then there is no way to avoid the conclusion that rape is merely theft and not the worst of all crimes as they would like it to be. Either a woman’s sexuality is sanctified and her body is not to be violated under any circumstances, or it is a commodity for sale and taking it without permission is a crime akin more to stealing than the existential horror that we consider rape to be. You can’t have it both ways.
Rape deserves special attention here as it is a favourite trope of feminists and the media, and a preferred way to smear men as a group. And rightly so. Except even this terrible crime does not escape the inconsistency of feminists.
Last year, male rapes were more common in the United States than female ones, which is quite obvious since we see that most take place in jail (or surprisingly, the military) and these are overwhelmingly male institutions:http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/men-outnumber-women-among-american-rape-victims/. But the fact remains, it is very hard as in the case of infanticide and child murder, for women to get sent to jail in the first place. Even when committing the same crimes, women get far lighter sentences (but only if they are white women. Black women however get the same sentences. My old flatmate would not be surprised).
Not only are more men raped, and raped because they are sent to places full of male rapists like jail and the army, in preference to women, but some of them are there due to false accusations of rape by women, which the FBI tells us is the crime women tend to lie about the most. Yes, the flawless women of today’s feminism lie about being raped by men so that the men can be sent to prison and be raped for real. Estimates of false accusations of rape vary wildly from 2% according to feminists to over 40% in some studies (alarmingly, also by feminists). Anything that varies that much in sociological studies, you can be sure ideology is at play: Stuart Taylor and K.C Johnson in their study of rape accusations examined all of the major studies dealing with false claims of sexual assault and found that the number of false claims is elusive but:
“[t]he standard assertion by feminists that only 2 percent” of sexual assault claims “are false, which traces to Susan Brownmiller’s 1975 book “Against Our Will,” is without empirical foundation and belied by a wealth of empirical data. These data suggest that at least 9 percent and probably closer to half” of all sexual assault claims “are false . . . .” (Page 374.).
As mentioned, FBI statistics show that false reporting of sexual assault is fourfold greater than the average for all crimes. ‘The Politics of Sexuality’, Barry M. Dank, Editor in Chief, Vol. 3 at 36, n. 8.
Moreover, one major study in this field, by feminist Eugene Kanin, found that 41% of the claims he examined were not just false but actually recanted.
Like all studies, we have to take these with a pinch of salt. A useful review is found here:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_accusation_of_rape#cite_note-TS-20, but I would take an article such as this one on ‘Wikipedia’ that quotes the US Justice Department as saying that the incidence is both 2% and 8% with another big pinch of salt.
Oh, and the post-feminist woman can be quite ‘traditional’ when it comes to who to falsely accuse of rape (reminding us of the novel ‘A Passage To India’):
‘Statements by the Finnish Police estimate that false rape accusations have risen in like manner with female alcohol consumption in the country and that many false rape accusations are made when intoxicated. Many of the people falsely accused of rape are men of immigrant background.’ (from above Wikipedia article)
In reality, what the case of false accusations of rape most definitely shows us is that your attitude towards both perpetrators and false accusers is highly predictable depending on which side of the feminist/misogynist divide you are on: it is almost certain that feminists favour and had a hand in the low false accusation studies and misogynists in the high false accusation ones. As I said, all forms of discrimination and fascism are fact-free zones. Much as consent is manufactured in today’s democracies, the cult of science and the respect afforded to scientific evidence means that we not only manufacture consent but science and statistics to suit us also.
Obviously, any amount of rape is too much – but since rape is used to demonise all men and to utter such absurd statements as ‘all sex between men and women is rape’ or that sex and rape between men and women are ‘hard to tell apart’ (McKinnon), a necessary corrective is needed. If men in general are to answer for the vulgarities of those of their gender who adhere to the stereotype of a male sexual predator, then so too must women answer for the stereotype of Potiphar’s wife to which a significant number of them may adhere.
My personal belief, for what it’s worth, is that most genuine rape is not reported and much reported rape is false, which tells us much about the spiritual diseases of both men and women in today’s West.
But of course, unlike the rape of women, the media finds male rape and even genital mutilation to be hilarious. It must be that pesky ‘patriarchy’ again, favouring men for ridicule for being weak enough to be raped by a guy called ‘Bubba’ in prison. In fact, not only is rape funny when it involves men but so is genital mutilation:http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/the-talk-cast-laughs-at-mans-dismembered-penis/
We all know what ‘the patriarchy’ would do if men started laughing at FGM or cutting off a woman’s left breast because she ‘cheated on him’ on a daytime television show, but hey, it’s that damn male privilege again! I guess we cannot expect much from a movement that changed the ‘V’ for victory sign to a ‘V for scissors’ as many feminists did after the mutilation of John Wayne Bobbit, who also had his penis cut off (he had it reattached and, in what can only be a testimonial to the efficacy of vascular microsurgery, embarked on an adult film career).
Feminists overlook the fact if that denied their privileged status in media and academic/liberal circles, smearing them and women in general by inventing a said fictitious entity called ‘The ‘Matriarchy’ would be extremely easy as we have seen. For example, just as we suspect men around children because of paedophilia (I mean lets face it, we do – any middle aged man with a young child is considered suspect), we can do the same to women, who commit the overwhelming majority of all child abuse:http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/child-abuse-and-neglect-statistics.html. This also raises the question of where men get their well documented violent urges from – perhaps from being battered as children by women if the above source is to be believed.
As we said at the beginning – men tend to harm those weaker than themselves – usually women. Not because they are ‘men’ but because they are human and picking on the weak is a human failing that most traditional belief systems warn against. Women pick on the weak too. In their case, children – perhaps an even more ignoble target than the chosen victims of men. Like most of the disastrous 20th century secular faiths – Fascism, Communism and Laissez Faire Free Markets, feminism is a utopian faith that envisions a world that would be perfect if only it could be administrated by them. But as the treatment of children by women shows, they are merely human. There is no earthly paradise and the religious were wise not to promise one.
I think it’s safe to say that a movement which did not realise that being denied the vote was not a good reason to jump under a horse and that one should, rather, to sound cliché, ‘choose life’, was catastrophically mislead from inception. Otherwise by that token the entire populations of the Middle East, North Korea and most of China should jump under horses or buffaloes or elk or whatever. But of course, they are not as stupid as us in the First World and they know that a persons’ worth is not based on voting alone. And that dead chicks can’t vote anyway.
Nor did feminism have the best of intentions, for from the outset, whether chucking them under horses or legitimising the objectification and use of their bodies as ‘empowerment’, feminism has seen women as disposable to it’s ultimate ends, just like all good fascist ideologies. After all, the best definition of fascism is simply insistence on an idea, come what may.
If parading around in your knickers like ‘Fem-en’ and ‘Pussy Riot’ is empowerment, then the whole history of feminism is an irrelevant footnote, since French courtesans already achieved that degree of ‘empowerment’ centuries ago.
Like all forms of hatred and xenophobia, when doing anything other than bashing it’s chosen targets, feminism is devoid of any consistent theory at all. There is a different feminism for each feminist and the only perceptible unifying creed is ‘men bad, women good’.
In the developing world, the situation is different and women are treated in many cases as chattel. And so are men. But in the West, female empowerment has become a ‘First World Problem’ and another outlet for the lack of responsibility, privilege and hedonism that plagues our cultures.
Feminism is nothing but systematised gender rancour, and poorly systematised at that. It is a concern of wealthy people, both men and women, with an exaggerated sense of personal freedom and detachment from the wider problems of humanity who do not need to have many children or any at all and assuage their ego and sense of entitlement by blaming men for their problems without ever stopping to think whose problem they themselves might be.