Checking up on the MRM once again

Read this today on Rachel Edward’s tumblr blog. (Actually had to create an account on tumblr just to be able to access her writings — my days of remaining a holdout on most social media sites appear to be numbered.) Rachel was formerly involved in the MRM (men’s rights movement) and affiliated with AVfM (A Voice For Men) and its spin-off, the Honey Badgers Brigade, that is until that all ended in recent months for reasons I am still not completely clear on, having just learned of all this earlier today.

Anyway, here is a relevant excerpt from Rachel’s tumblr blog:

ScreenHunter_03 Apr. 09 20.06

The rest of this post can be accessed directly here.

Her thoughts expressed there ring true and sound pretty similar to what I’ve been arguing throughout the last 3 years after first stumbling upon the online “manosphere.” Steeping oneself in a bunch of hate, surrounded by a bunch of haters, particularly when you’re already personally traumatized and in need of healing, is a recipe for disaster, both politically for the group/movement and for the individuals therein. That is my stance, and it’s the same complaint I have launched against feminism in the past. Turning one’s personal pains into political propaganda winds up creating an emotional, reactive movement while also using its members as mere fodder to suit such aims. I don’t know about everybody else out there, but I don’t like being used or having my personal past paraded as little more than another example to bolster other people’s political ambitions.

It’s enough to make anyone batty over time.

One gripe I’ve publicized pertaining to the MRM and AVFM specifically is that there apparently needs to be a division between its marketing efforts and its general membership where people are still struggling with their past problems and in need of resources and quality camaraderie rather than having their dirty laundry aired publicly on the same site. I understand people oftentimes are airing their own dirty laundry on there without being told to do so directly, but through so many choosing to go that route it’s created a hostile, unwelcoming environment for all on-lookers and newbies interested in learning more about men’s rights activism. Instead of being presented with various issues and concerns and potential solutions for addressing them, we outsiders wander in and see a slew of guys lamenting their pain and angrily denouncing all women as “parasitic” and bashing feminists (mostly young internet feminists, mind you). That strategy doesn’t help their cause the way they like to think it does. But you can’t convince them otherwise and I’ve tired of trying to say much to that crew.

People get really upset and claim it’s all really about protecting and promoting men’s rights, while we also learn about drama behind the scenes where higher-ups are angling to make a buck off of the success of this movement (Paul Elam immediately springs to mind). But this is the problem with intertwining the personal and the political — it creates a sticky, disorienting dynamic where damaged folks are prone to be taken advantage of by others who tell them what they want to hear or who convince them to see members of another group (or sex, as is common in this case) as “enemies.” And once enough people get wise to what’s going on, they’re likely to feel even more disillusioned and frustrated. These are all reasons why I’m no longer a fan of identity politics — or politics in general, for that matter.

I can understand the desire to run toward others who claim to have gone through what you’ve recently experienced, who claim to have some answers, who appear to offer friendship and camaraderie within their movement. The allure attracted me back around the time I was 18 or 19 as well in terms of the feminist movement. But try not toeing the line and see how many remain in your corner and friendly. Try asking probing questions and observe how irritated this makes your fellow activists. Or disagree on their ways of going about promoting certain agendas, even where you both do agree on the underlying issue being a problem, just not on the tactics being used to address it. Doesn’t usually wind up remaining a warm and welcoming experience for long when that’s your modus operandi, IME.

Movements are most fond of “yes men” — people who will go along with their agendas without asking too many questions or voicing too many complaints. That may be suitable for conformists and the collectivist-oriented, but it’s not typically a good fit for individualistic-minded folks. Hence why so many movements splinter and factions choose to go their own ways, as began occurring decades ago in feminism. Some people indeed are more herd-oriented than others, but some of us would rather go it alone than bite our tongues and deny our own self interests for the supposed “greater good.” And this is what I’m pointing at when I keep mentioning how we’re not all on the same team and never will be. Differing interests, differing agendas, differing outcomes desired, etc.

Frankly, I don’t enjoy being led by someone unless I am damned certain they are honorable and upright and have their own shit together first. Because otherwise we just wind up trailing reckless egomaniacs and charlatans while they spiral down. Power corrupts, particularly when it comes to people who crave power and yet don’t possess the fortitude and integrity to handle it. Not that I’m claiming to possess such fortitude and integrity myself, for the record — hence why I am not aiming to head (or join) any movement and content myself with playing in this online sandbox, interacting loosely with other individuals who happen my way. Little else.

But I did sign back into AVFM last night for the first time in a coon’s age. Probably haven’t signed on there since 2013. Why? Curiosity, and the desire to interact when the mood strikes. Probably doesn’t hurt to have a few critics around in any movement. I’ve dragged numerous excerpts from their forum back here to showcase over the last 3 years, but it feels worthwhile now to go ahead and speak directly at times. Perhaps because my personal life has finally simmered down so I’m not as distracted with that drama any longer. For whatever reason(s), I’ve routinely felt drawn back into observing what’s going down over in their corner of the internet. I do care about men’s rights, just as I care about women’s rights, hell, human rights. But I really hate to see movements make a mockery out of people’s suffering, and it’s also sickening observing the lack of growth among so many of its members over time. Look, I have a LOT of room to grow myself and am not standing in judgment on that point; just that it seems a pity to allow social and political activism with so much potential to devolve into a mud-slinging, bashing, incessant complaining, label-tossing, sex-separating cesspool. What good does anyone figure will come from that?

But people will do as they wish. So I suppose my job these days is to observe and share resources when I find them. Or help in batting around ideas occasionally. Or questioning faulty logic. Not sure what else is really of value on my part in this respect currently. Certainly not about to donate anymore money, not that I have much to spare right now. So perspective-sharing is what I mostly have to offer, for whatever it’s worth.

Discussion between a college-age feminist, an MRA, and a couple atheists (plus my thoughts)

Feminist (AwesomeRants) vs. MRA (Janet Bloomfield) (DP)”:

Haven’t watched but maybe a couple of Drunken Peasants videos so far, though I am a fan of T.J.’s Amazing Atheist YT channel.

I really liked this discussion, though I’d like to see more including Tori of the AwesomeRants channel fleshing out her ideas in greater detail (maybe having her on as a guest by herself). Because feminism is still rather new to her, so she’s totally learning and taking in this stuff and forming opinions as she goes, just as any of us were back in college. Opinions will necessarily shift and change over time. That’s life. And she’s a particularly smart and thoughtful young woman, having watched several of her videos in the past. I don’t always agree with her, but I respect that she’s actively seeking to learn and possesses a critical mind that appears willing to challenge even her own biases. She’s good people, so far as I can tell.

And so is T.J.

Know less about Scotty and JudgyBitch/Janet Bloomfield. But overall, I gotta say that I agreed in places with everybody in this video, now paused at the 46:26 mark. Many thoughts sprang to mind while watching this…

Ya know, I agree with T.J that there are philosophical differences among people that can be so great that perhaps we’re better off going our separate ways, at least in that respect (in this case, in terms of romantic relationships). Some people desire very intuitive, intimate partnerships where their partner is capable of reading their body language and is sensitive to moods and whatever else. While to an extent I grasp all of that, I’m personally more in line with Janet’s thinking in that I have no issue with asserting myself when something troubles me, at least not anymore. Those who are less direct and expect their partner to take cues can be really confusing to the uninitiated. And I’m here to say that those types aren’t always female despite the feminine association with what might be minimally considered coyness or playing hard to get (some are also the types who need the stars aligned and the wind blowing in just the right sort of way . . . yep, grown men can be that way too, even heterosexuals, truth be told). Plenty of people out here even like it like that on the whole, whichever way they may individually lean.

Me personally, I’m a pursuer who also enjoys being pursued by those I’m attracted to. If I’m not interested, as an adult, I can and will state it. If I’m in a committed relationship with someone I’ve chosen to engage with him because we share certain values in common and aim to respect one another’s boundaries. So yeah, in that sort of setup consent is established, unless it involves some freaky shit that we have the sense to realize ought to be discussed with our partner(s) in advance. But that’s talking about an established relationship. What about in cases where relative strangers are involved? And that’s where I come down more solidly for the need to be assertive and to work hard at avoiding putting yourself in potentially compromising situations where you might be overwhelmed and/or taken advantage of. Goes back to that notion of knowing thyself … but it’s a learning process. And it’s young people primarily the ones wrestling with these sexual questions and problems.

We live in a culture that glamorizes and pedestalizes youth and beauty probably more than ever before, setting young people up to be targeted by adults all the more so. And that’s where these sort of conversations veer off for me, because youths are naive and do struggle to know how to react and can be overwhelmed to where they’re paralyzed with fear and uncertainty. Or they (how often seemingly?) enthusiastically consent to things that aren’t actually good for them, because they can’t see far enough into the future and are too inexperienced to predict the consequences. Living and learning…  Do we as older (ha!) people not bear a greater responsibility to be mindful of not leading young, naive people intro troubled waters? I guess I’m asking if we shouldn’t position ourselves in their lives as friends rather than as predatory foes and/or intellectual combatants. Yet a substantial portion of the population were corrupted by adults in their youth, so this is happening and it’s an inquiry seriously needing to be addressed, and not just by gender ideologues.

People possess a tendency to manipulate and use those whom they’re able to, which is to say humans tend to be opportunistic, and that can and does shake out in myriad ways across the spectrum, ranging from sexual abuse to physical domination to intellectual and emotional trickery to applying strong social pressure. Women are not immune to behaving in these ways, which I’d guess is common sense. But there are gendered differences when it comes to the ways it tends to play out.

Clear and obvious example: When was the last time you heard of a female prowling a neighborhood, sneaking into a random house and accosting a stranger sleeping at knife- or gun-point, demanding sex? When we do hear of these select cases, males overwhelmingly are the perpetrators. Most of us chock that up to common sense. Deceptively manipulating someone into marrying you so you can get your hands on their money? More commonly associated with female behavior. Different ways that abuses of power can and typically do shake out between the sexes, quite obviously.

Part of the issue is this expanded definition of what legally constitutes rape. That’s a problem since all offenses, from extreme violation and mistreatment on over to miscommunications between mutually drunken idiots, wind up falling under the same banner, undifferentiated. IMO, this is the major question confronting us as a society in this respect: determining what’s worthy of legal prosecution and what’s best handled interpersonally and socially. Not all offenses are created equal, as we know. Someone breaking into my car when I’m not around and stealing my stereo isn’t perceived by me to be as great of a violation as experiencing a home invasion where I am present, tied up, and tortured. Different degrees of trauma will arise there. Crude as these comparisons are, the same holds true for sexual violations. [Nothing I say is intended to be taken strictly literally unless I expressly state that to be my intention. Understand here that I am NOT implying that raping a person who’s passed out cold is in any way comparable to jacking my car when I’m not in it. No. That does not qualify as a lesser form of “date rape,” which I’d define as involving mostly coercion and manipulation rather than physical force and/or the lack or absence of the ability to affirmatively consent, which admittedly in some cases gets pretty hazy as well. Big reason why we have to be cognizant of the situations we’re putting ourselves and others in when we’re out drinking or doing whatever and playing in the hook-up culture. I could say a lot more on this and related subjects, but it can wait for a future blog post.]

What makes it so terribly complicated here are the untold number of nuances involved in our sexual and social interactions. This is no cut-and-dried matter that can be effectively reduced down to positive affirmations granted each and every step along the way, not if we’re to actually enjoy spontaneity with our sexual partners. That’s not what most of us want either, whether male or female. What we do want is to be shown more respect, and that’s a two-way street. Obviously though, some people override concern for others in pursuit of their own jollies. Not uncommon, especially among the horniest demographic.

But here’s the thing: in my quite adequate number of sexual partners and experiences, I’d say that the vast majority of men aren’t interested in raping someone. If you state it plain and let them understand what they’re doing is pushing in that direction, they’ll back off. Don’t even have to go that far even with most men — an emphatic “NO! I DO NOT WANT TO HAVE SEX WITH YOU!” backed up by unyielding body language turns them completely off. And I didn’t even have to go that far much of the time.

I can understand how we might at times send mixed signals to males, so it does help to state our intentions upfront and either stick with them and act accordingly, or abandon them and decide what risks we are willing to take. But admittedly, part of the problem with the hook-up scene is that you’re often dealing with strangers, people you really can’t say with certainty are going to treat you with respect behind closed doors. It’s a risk, and it’s one I think more young people would be better off trying to avoid, from the sounds of it. But then they’re being bombarded with so much sexuality in our popular media and mixed messages encouraging them to behave in these ways.

(If I were a parent, I’d follow my stepdad’s lead and not subscribe to cable television. Even without kids I haven’t subscribed to cable this time around since at least 2008. But now most households have the internet, so who knows how to protect young people from being swayed by so much poor advice and sexual over-stimulation? Not to mention their exposure through their peers at school. Crazy times…)

More than feeling on a side in these gender-bent debates, I just mostly feel sorry for young people having to learn so much the hard way. It can be really rough out there. Sometimes you think you have the situation under control, but then later learn otherwise. Alcohol consumption certainly complicates matters there. And, like I said before, there’s no shortage of older people willing to take advantage of youthful naivety wherever they find it. Sad, but true. Apparently a fact of life.

I don’t know what to tell young people today. Part of me wants to say don’t follow in my footsteps since it contains some hard lessons that could really mess up the tender-hearted. But then again, how else does one learn but through trial and error? Some potentially expensive consequences up in there though, like becoming pregnant or contracting an STD or getting seriously traumatized by a scary individual. These are the risks we take with sex, especially with relative strangers. Leads me back to what Tori was saying about being sensitive to our partner’s needs and wants — yes, that’s a fabulous idea, and it’s best carried out by waiting to get to know people for a while before engaging in sexual activity, that way you can better gauge how they are and what their intentions may be. It’s this promiscuous, drunken hook-up culture where strangers come together that’s causing a lot of confusion and problems.

While I understand many of us don’t desire a return to past gender roles or social pressure for us to be monogamous to one partner throughout all our life, that doesn’t mean there’s greater value in swaying to the opposite extreme of rampant reckless sex among strangers and seeing people as nothing but instruments to be used to satisfy our own selfish sexual pleasures. It’s that mentality, in a nutshell, that appears to be fucking us up. Nothing necessarily wrong with hooking up for sex, but it’s risky behavior and the odds are, I’d say, that 1-5 out of 100 (if you play your cards right) will be so selfish that they disregard your boundaries and perhaps even safety in striving to gratify themselves. And then there’s always that stray “free radical” to worry about who may seriously prove sadistic and dangerous (think: Looking For Mr. Goodbar). While it’s true that a person can be sexually accosted while minding our own business, the risks dramatically go up when we retreat into private spaces with people we don’t know well under the implicit assumption that sex very well may occur. Especially when boozed up. That’s not meant judgmentally, just pointing to the potential hazards here.

These are hard truths for young people to come up against, yes. Add it to the mountain of other things we grew up lied to or in the dark about. The truth is that the hook-up culture is potentially dangerous, and you have to go into it with your eyes open rather than being too trusting of strangers. Naivety extracts a cost eventually. We like to imagine some perfect world where this no longer occurs, but how could that ever be when humans are so complex and varied? Threats will always exist, and no amount of education can fully eliminate them. Because some people don’t care that they’re breaking the law or seriously upsetting or harming someone else. Some people can be very cruel and unconcerned. Or just selfish and willfully oblivious. I don’t know how we protect younger people from reckoning with this fact of life, aside from aiming to not contribute to it and sharing our own stories in case they’re open to learning lessons vicariously through others. Some lessons one indeed would be better off not having to learn in the harshest fashion, and I’m glad I gleaned as much as I did from others I was fortunate enough to read or hear directly from back in the day.

As is commonly said, why reinvent the wheel?

Anyway, moving along in their talk above about the rights women possess in the West compared to men… The genital mutilation argument continues to garner my sympathy and support (as does selective service requirements). As for choice when it comes to creating and supporting a child, with the technologies available to us today, I can understand there needing to be some sort of way for both males and females to sign on to the pregnancy being taken to full-term and both agreeing to share in providing financial/household, emotional, psychological and otherwise nurturing support toward any offspring we’re bringing into existence. I agree with this for enhancing equality between the sexes, but also because I think this would help create checks and balances both legally and socially that are sorely needed. Using kids to take advantage of each other through the courts is a messed-up way to behave. Shouldn’t be a parent if you’re going to act like that. It’s not fair. Kids don’t deserve to be used as pawns between adults. So my concern is with the upbringing of future generations being brought into this mess more so than between the sexes battling it out today, seeing as how I don’t and won’t have kids of my own (thanks to technologies).

I love my right to choose, so I want to see others enjoy it as well. No reason to be exclusive — we can work it out somehow. Can’t we? If I become pregnant and the man expressly states he doesn’t want to share in parenting, am I not agreeing to single motherhood? Of course I am. But I may require of him to help finance it and partake in at least some aspects of parenting regardless of his will. That’s not a fair arrangement. Gonna have to upgrade that. So many children being born to disinterested, unhappy parents has been a problem for a long time — why continue it if we don’t have to anymore?

Social checks and balances to discourage certain behaviors have always existed among social beings, playing out in varied ways across cultures—and while acknowledging abuses of unfortunate circumstances did occur and could be unduly harsh (here thinking about the treatment of single/widowed mothers in past times, as well as those with legitimate brain abnormalities who wound up vilified, though, interestingly enough, shamans of old are often compared with those labeled as schizophrenics today and are claimed to belong to the same lineage — goes to further demonstrate the power of perception at any given point in history)—but we now live in the time of plenty in great grids where agricultural innovations make it possible to support massive populations, many of whom if thrown back on our own (primitive) devices at this point could not survive; this continues because our government stepped in and plays the role of Big Poppa. And this all costs tax-paying citizens a fortune (though not as much as corporate welfare, it deserves to be declared, to put it in sharper perspective). We’re getting hosed by our governments and would benefit from nearly anything that extracts its involvement from our lives and personal business. We can and likely should figure this shit out among ourselves and figure out ways to get the Government to back the fuck off and let us do so. But that requires cooperation, coming on the heels of decades where competition became all the rage. The cooperative spirit has been effectively undermined, and these are some of the consequences. Better ways are called for.

Interesting talk. Glad to see it didn’t devolve into some shaming match.

The night’s gotten away from me.

Naomi Wolf, Karen Straughan & Antigone Darling discuss feminism (plus my personal thoughts)

This evening I’m watching:

Pausing at 11:30… I actually do like what Naomi Wolf said in that the feminist lens can serve as a useful tool for analysis. That’s true, it can. Theoretically, though acknowledging all analyses not being equal. The trouble is when someone winds up so limited by such a lens that their outlooks get skewed to the point of becoming unfairly biased. We all obviously have our biases and none of us can claim a fully objective perspective, but the stated aim in movements of this nature is to examine society through particular lenses in an effort to understand and perhaps work toward remedying social injustices. My own interest is in better understanding what’s going on without looking to be prescriptive, whereas many involved in these gender-bent movements are pushing for political change and select legal action, that being where I wind up in outfield in these sorts of discussions. But regardless, it’s good to see this panel come together to lay out their perspectives.

Anyway, carrying on…

Pausing at 20:22. Seriously wish Antigone Darling had held her microphone a little further away. Her voice comes across booming on my end and is most difficult to understand.

But I like what she’s saying about how the term “feminism” shouldn’t dominate the dialogue since it’s not supposed to be about either sex lording over the other. It does boil down to individuals ultimately, even as gendered perspectives can prove useful in examinations of social phenomena, just as racial and socioeconomic focuses add to our understanding as well. But, ultimately, these are human matters experienced in whatever which ways by us as individuals. That’s the fundamental starting point.

Pausing at 31:07… Back when I was a freshman and sophomore in college I too looked into the organization N.O.W. and actually donated a little, that being during my own first “wave” of interest in feminism, and I have to say that members within that organization did state some pretty hostile shit. It’s been a long time and I can’t recall anything clearly, just that the sentiment expressed seemed decisively hostile toward males, especially toward those males not closely associated with the feminist movement. That’s just the nature of that organization, and it wound up personally turning me off, for one. Even during a time when I felt pretty hostile about men my damn self, and justifiably so at that point in time IMO. Probably for me it came down to seeing N.O.W. representatives were acting rabid and figuring eventually they would wind up trampling on the rights of women too if given enough power. Just because an organization claims to advocate on behalf of women doesn’t make it any less vulnerable to corruption, most especially if it’s angling for political clout.

Pausing at 40:48… Gotta say it — I get where all of them are coming from. Both Naomi and Karen make good arguments, but what seems to be lacking from Karen’s analysis is just how much of a role Abrahamic religions have played over the last nearly 4,000 years and in how they absolutely have redefined many people’s gender roles accordingly (as determined by their interpretations of scriptures, which has, over time, divvied up in different ways). That’s no small matter. Because religions have been losing their stranglehold on humankind since the Enlightenment Era that still in no way eradicates prior history which, for several thousands of years, was patriarchal. Not everywhere on the globe necessarily, but notably where Abrahamic religions had influence. The documents themselves (e.g., the Bible and Torah) may be interpreted differently, but for the vast majority of people subjected to it it was taken as placing males in leadership roles in most (if not every) aspect of society. It cast the role of that which they call “God” as male in the image of male-dominated hierarchy structures that had arisen somewhere within the 3,000 years leading up to the formation of the major Abrahamic religions.

Humans are evolving, both socially and biologically, and the rise of domineering male-dominated hierarchies are a notable part of our not-so-distant history. It’s still close enough in the rear-view mirror that these religions continue to exert influence (though it’s morphed into a bastardized political power-grabbing vehicle since its inception, practically devoid of its spiritual content by this point), obviously, hence why there’s this big “war” being waged between atheists and various types of theists across societies nowadays. Those religions proved bigoted (particularly in practice) on every level and in one form or fashion against all groups of people, but so goes the evolution of social dynamics during the rise of civilizations. Economics were a major factor as well, and I’d argue men originally played into that scheme better than women did or could have, they being unshackled by the physical limitations imposed by pregnancies and child-rearing. Biology dictated so much until just a very short time ago when advanced technologies afforded women unprecedented control over our fertility (which then called for political action to get laws to recognize and protect access to). That was a significant game-changer.

As was the reign of patriarchal religions and their spread via imperialist endeavors. To acknowledge the gains achieved legally in modern times while saying nothing about the social setup (other than the purely biological component) that claimed dominance over many cultures dating back hundreds or thousands of years that had a profound influence on how roles divvied up and impacted human psychologies to the core is, I believe, disingenuous and just as biased as feminists who focus on history over a century ago and then skip back to talk of our primitive pasts without appreciating what political feats have been accomplished in most recent times. Both wind up being skewed perceptions because they’re geared toward standing in opposition to one another rather than assimilating data so as to form a more well-rounded comprehension of events leading up to where we stand today. Not all of us have come to stand in equal places, and I’ll argue class divisions remain extremely relevant, perhaps now more than ever as we’ve experienced power centralizing in organizations, businesses, and the State (welcome to the Heyday Age of Economics as ruler of all); and though I don’t personally subscribe to the notion that equal outcomes on all conceivable matters is the ideal, the level of disparities made possible in modern times is simply astounding (namely between the haves and have-much-fucking-less) and will prove to be unsustainable. Humans are too jealous to accept that outcome — blame evolution there too and look into literature on primate behavior to see relevant similarities.

This is why I say that what we call patriarchy isn’t so much about each individual man being invested with greater power over women and children (though that slant is most definitely central to Abrahamic religions, at least in terms of fathers and leaders), it’s about there being a shift toward more of a masculine-oriented style of organization of societies during the rise of civilizations. Likely because the masculine orientation could be harnessed and utilized to build up these civilizations at that stage in the game. Nowadays we’re confronted with different demands, namely conformity, and that’s where utilizing womankind (and feminine-oriented styles) generally proves more advantageous (at least for those standing to benefit from such a construct, depending on how we wish to look at this matter). From my own view, this is more a story of how power concentrates and culminates into making modernity possible, for better or worse, and both men and women, generally speaking, have been and will continue to be used along the way in satisfying these objectives.

At some point it almost seems irrelevant whether wealthy interests are steering this ship or if the hand of fate is doing so. In a real sense, it’s virtually all the same.

Pausing at 44:04… I didn’t find the audiobook Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus useful either.

Pausing at 48:12… I don’t like how the moderator cut that conversation off about rape, and I also don’t like how Naomi Wolf jumped to calling Karen a “rape apologist” without hearing out her assertion. The thing is that Karen’s right there: oftentimes rape does wind up coming down to a he said/she said matter so far as legality is concerned. There really is no crystal-clear, unambiguous definition of what might be considered “rape” today. It’s one of those subjective claims that can be very difficult for outsiders to assess given that we weren’t present for whatever transpired. False claims of rape can and do occur. Also, bonafide rapes can and frequently enough still do tend to go unreported (noting that reports of sexual attacks from complete strangers very often are reported to police, just not so much when between intimates and acquaintances). I personally blame (at least in part) the focus shifting to expecting legal measures alone to remedy these problems when it’s undeniably a moral and spiritual matter at its core. It’s a question of respect between individuals, whether male or female, flowing in both directions. The problem is with people using one another, either because they’re intoxicated and can’t put up effective resistance,  or because opportunity knocks, or because one wishes to extort money through chicanery, or whatever. All are examples of serious disrespect, and both males and females have proven willing and able to exploit one another. That’s the underlying concern here, so far as I see it.

Pausing at 50:00… Yes, I agree with Antigone there. Hormonal contraceptives are a serious issue impacting women specifically but also appears to be impacting society more generally too. We as Americans (and perhaps Canadians can relate too) are being over-saturated with hormones, from oral contraceptives to foods to plastics (and even marijuana as well, since weed contains phytoestrogens). That’s an important consideration, though I don’t think it needs to be addressed by feminists alone. Especially considering the impact such hormones appear to be having on offspring. Much more research needed there.

The concern about American people’s—and mostly especially women’s (since more females willingly go this route than males thus far)—reliance on anti-depressants/anti-anxiety prescription pills is pointing out a worrisome trend, I agree. And if people do their research and delve back into the history of the field of psychiatry, they will learn how women had been its preferred guinea pigs for many decades. That’s a major concern, and it impacts men too seeing as how they have to live with and/or around us (not to mention now many young boys are being targeted for psychiatric diagnoses; plus, returning soldiers are being increasingly medicated for PTSD). Men also work with us women. They must share a society with us. And we’re being fed a dangerous lie based on largely unsubstantiated quasi-scientific “theories” that are proving extremely profitable for those tied in with the fields of biochemistry/pharmacology and related marketing/advertising.

Strongly agreed that those are both serious issues begging to be reckoned with that potentially impact us all.

Finished viewing the video. On a final note, I agree that weapons deserve to be brought up on these topics if we’re going to focus on concerns about safety and protecting our rights and well-being. Feminists are especially prone toward dismissing that option, IME, which has for a long time blown my mind. Why wouldn’t women want to do what is in their ability to ensure that they don’t wind up victims of unwarranted violence? And nothing spells out equal quite as succinctly as an equalizer, which firearms indeed can indeed be. They (potentially, if successfully executed) bring stopping power to the situation, whether when defending against a bigger and stronger attacker(s) or one individual wielding a weapon himself/herself. There does come a time to take matters into our own hands instead of waiting for the State to fight our battles for us. Granted, it’s bullshit that opportunists try to take advantage of others, but that’s unfortunately an inescapable fact of life and it won’t be eradicated any time soon. Might help to curb that end of spectrum of the gene pool if it refuses to act respectfully. (But even there I realize it devolves down into a he said/she said dispute in the legal system in trying to prove one’s right to utilize lethal force allegedly in self-defense. If the supposed offending party is rendered dead and there were no other witnesses, who then really knows what was what?)

Anyway, very good video and discussion. Body language gave away that Naomi and Karen weren’t too fond of one another, but so be it. Still seemed productive that they all sat down and at least tried to broach these topics.

[Lightly edited once again 1/31/2015 for typos and greater clarity.]

Series on the book “Illusions of Egalitarianism” (plus my thoughts)

“Illusions of Egalitarianism I – Intro and Overview”:

“Illusions of Egalitarianism II – The Inconsistency of Aims”:

“Illusions of Egalitarianism III – The Denial of Responsibility”:

“Illusions of Egalitarianism IV – Remainder of Review”:

Today I’m listening the the 4th and last part in the series on the book Illusions of Egalitarianism by John Kekes reviewed by YTer and AVFMer Victor Zen.

I especially appreciate Keke’s list read at about the 26 minute mark. Pausing right there, I must say Keke’s views as relayed by VZ strike me as along the same vein as my own when it comes to egalitarianism. He’s obviously demonstrated his position in much more detail, and I haven’t read his book for myself, but I’ve nodded along with everything presented about his views in this video series and am wondering how I haven’t heard of that author before now.

But views take time to form, and once upon a time I would have described myself as an egalitarian so far as understanding people deserve to be treated equally in the eyes of the Law and that extreme social and economic imbalances are creating tons of problems for our society. Views evolve alongside coming to terms with reality, and through gaining experience in living we do see that not all people are truly equal, nor can they be transformed into being so. We obviously do possess different moral compasses and modi operandi in our approaches to living and being. That’s just a fact of life, and it’s made blatantly evident when we examine cases of psychopaths and extreme sadists. Criminality of the most heinous varieties signal to us what some people are capable of, and we’re horrified precisely because we’re not geared in those same sort of ways. There are lines most of draw that some do not, and that proves true in respect to both good and evil inclinations and orientations. In simplest terms, we’re not equally constituted when it comes to moral character, as Kekes pointed out as well.

Acknowledging that alone issues a major blow to egalitarian logic.

Furthermore, the road to hell may be paved with good intentions, to paraphrase Mark Twain. We see how much power conformist pressures have over us, and this speaks to a big reason why I yammer on about individualism as I do. It’s easy for humans to get caught up in group-think when it comes to shared ideals and collectivist political strategies, and that has the effect of framing dissidents and supporters of different principles as either unenlightened or criminal. When special interest movements and ideologues become entrenched in our political institutions, freedom gets jeopardized and undermined, as we’ve been witnessing in action up through the 20th century.

It’s interesting that the author brought up liberal optimism. The way I see that is it’s a movement that’s optimistic about being able to use the coercive power of the State to usher in an ideal regardless of whether there’s a true consensus among the people. Once again, dissidents are deemed irrelevant or enemies of the new objectives and are treated accordingly. They are optimistic because their advocates have become entrenched in the power structures-that-be and because they utilize immense social pressure to either convert or silence others who may disagree with popular programs. Here I’m focusing on the Political Left, but the Political Right has a game of its own that’s proving just as detrimental (i.e., economics-worshiping neoconservatism) — that’s just outside of the scope of the topic.

So why wouldn’t they be optimistic when the plan of harnessing political power is to appeal to the power-hungry and to force consensus among the rest? Sounds like a winning strategy, though it undoubtedly won’t turn out as most had hoped and intended.

That leads to what VZ shared about Keke’s views on how egalitarians tend to prefer not to commit to set courses of action and in designing an overarching framework when it comes to the political process and sphere. And that I find very interesting and am glad he brought up, because that’s precisely what is missing there. The libertarian ethos can at least be boiled down to relatively simple principles capable of being used to fashion laws that do treat people as equals in the eyes of the State, and yet the liberal approach appears to be more of a hodge-podge of thrown together preferences and knee-jerk demands in response to this or that perceived travesty. The latter presents no coherent gameplan for structuring society in a functional manner, thereby leaving the internal workings of the system up to chance by not being well thought out. It’s a political movement based more on wishful thinking than determining how such a scheme would work.

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JohnTheOther (In His Own Words)

Mirror of the original video by JtO:

[Updated to include John’s latest video (below) explaining the one said to have been created 5 years ago.]

That’s JohnTheOther, a.k.a. John Hembling, Editor in Chief at A Voice For Men.

Here’s the  article on Raw Story (Oct. 21, 2013) that discusses a bit more on John Hembling.

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Update July 21, 2014: John Hembling continues to assert that he still, really and truly, doesn’t “give a fuck” about actual rape victims:

Frickin’ depressing…

To be honest, I’m glad to hear that John Hembling has since distanced himself from the organization AVFM.