Plus ça Change, Plus c'est la Même Chose!
Hey, I just love it when somebody else writes the blog FOR me, and I have only to kick back in my swivel chair smoking Havana cigars sent to me by my good buddy, the other Fidel, and drink myself into a stupor with cognac. . . or absinthe. . . or something like that! ;)Yes, the following arrived by e-mail recently, and to me it verily seemeth good! It was written in response to the recent CF article entitled Notes: Toward an Efficient Political World-View:
"A rather long diatribe Fidelbogen. You've tested my patience with this one. :)"Suffice it to say that feminism is analogous to a religion, with it own origin stories and epistemic system. And yes, we need not be its worldly or philosophical adherents.
"For my own part, I am a non-feminist but not in the sense that I am entirely antithetical to feminsim. Rather, my main beef is that I find it disconcerting that feminist theory is not subject to the same standards of academic criticism as are other social theories. That it is allowed to slide so to speak. Also, I am at odds with what I see as little more than ideological misandry in the movement.
"As Paul Nathanson and Katherine K. Young point out in Spreading Misandry     , feminism's sexual politics are entrenched in popular culture. That women's inequality has been the fault of men's not permitting women to do this, or not allowing them to do that, is common knowledge to most people. Of course, the implied corollary of this common knowledge is that women's equality is reliant upon men's allowing women to be equals. Naturally, most self-respecting feminists will not have this leaving only one other conclusion. Namely, that women are principally responsible for their own equality and always have been. Ouch!
"The presumption that men had the power to allow or disallow women to do what they wanted is essential to feminist theory. It is also a presumption predicated on an entirely Kantian view of women as passive agents. Just the sort of view feminists would deny and yet at the same time exploit in order to build their case against men as their oppressors. Everywhere in their ideology is poor, poor, helpless little womankind against the big, bad male beast. How Victorian!
"For me the victimology that is feminism has worn thin, as has the notion that women are an oppressed class. After all, if women are an oppressed class, they are the only oppressed class that can proudly say they bear and raise their own oppressors. In which case, I've little sympathy for them.
"IMHO, the view of women as victims is not unique to feminism. Neither was this view necessarily invented by feminists so much as borrowed from a Victorian heritage in which women were counted innocent. A cursory reading of that era's authorized moral vocabulary will show that it invariably blamed marital failure on the husband and premarital sex on the initiative of the male. In that era and up until the 1960's, moral belief was that women were in need of protection from aggressive male sexuality which was deemed by nature predatory, selfish, exploitive, and opportunistic. Then came the sexual revolution and feminism got a new shot in the arm.
"For men, feminism was a double edged sword. Surely, the sexual liberation of women was at hand. However, feminists judged this a liberation from male domination rather than the hypocrisy of their own sex. Where women once thought men beasts, now they were pigs! What a welcome transformation of female attitude!
"Feminists have sustained their view of a world in which men are the enemy by sermonizing on the sins of patriarchy. After all, this way of speaking absolves women of any responsible agency for history's prejudices. Imagine that! How liberated a feeling such an ideology would bestow upon its congregation! Not only are you, as a woman, empowered, you're absolved of any fault for the past despite the fact that the previous era of sexual hypocrisy is named after an English queen!
"In short, that feminism relieved us of our Victorian predilections regarding sex is a ruse. Not only has feminism predicated its movement on a view of women as victims and denied women's complicity in the traditional moral order, it has done so by faithful adherence to antiquated notions of feminine moral superiority and innocence. The song remains the same."
This same correspondent, in a later e-mail, shared the following highly revelatory anecdote. Revelatory of the occult truth about feminism, I mean:
". . .when I was in college, a couple of my anthropology professors held a symposium entitled Feminism: A Cultural Perspective. It did not go over well with the feminists on campus. The suggestion that their movement could be explained as "just another phenomenon within western culture" was untenable to them. They preferred to see themselves as external to culture, looking from the outside in with their meta-analysis of patriarchy and so on. They were argumentative to the point of rancor on this point. The professors said afterward they would never attempt a similar discussion again. "Pity that those professors had no fortitude to undertake similar discussions again. Call it the Larry Summers Syndrome! So how does it bode for us all, when the high priests of higher education do so cravenly cast away their torch and flee the sanctuary of their temple? Clearly, the mantle of their priesthood now devolves upon us library lizards, us cultured barbarians, us rough-and-tumble, self-educated street intellectuals -- we of the intellectual proletariat, we of the "Abraham Lincoln brigade", we who have no station, no standing, or in a word, no tenure. And therefore nothing to lose!
But how true it is, that feminism has given us nothing new. It has merely gotten hold of certain things that have always been part of this world, and inventoried them, and amplified them, and reinterpreted them, and mixed and remixed them, and tinkered with them, and soldered them onto a new circuit board, and in the end politicized them. Yet prior to all else feminism is a religion, with its own origin stories and and its own epistemic system. Somehow, those words have a familiar ring.
So, men formerly were 'beasts', and now they are 'pigs'? I have also heard it said that 'men may be dogs (but we love them anyway)', or 'men are animals, don't you think?'. So what are we to make of all this? Esteemed reader, which would YOU prefer to be -- a pig, a dog, an animal, or. . . a "beast"? Personally, I'd as soon be none of the above. I'd much rather be what I personally and uniquely am -- for which there is no exact word in any language. However, if it's back to the wall with no alternative to that zoological catalogue save bootlicking, politically-indoctrinated servility and self-betrayal, then beast I shall be! Beast, at any rate, has a certain freedom and dignity about it. A certain grandeur. A certain. . . poetry.
But really, I'd rather not be a 'beast' either. Nor would many others who share my view of the matter. And if certain people will finally awaken and hearken to the wise words of warning wafting from certain sectors, it need not come to that -- and beastliness may be avoided all around. So shake the lead out of your britches and do the right thing, folks! You know who you are. . .