The Bright Line
The talk today has a very simple title. It is called "The Bright Line".
In this talk, I would like to explain the most damning and revealing thing it is possible to know about feminism. I say damning and revealing, and my choice of words is well considered. It damns feminism not only by revealing its fundamentally damnable nature, but by revealing a principle which infallibly isolates feminism from the rest of the moral universe, and makes it available as a target.
Let me tell you how it is. Feminism offers women a generous system of incentives to indulge their baser human proclivities, but offers little or no incentive in the opposite direction. For you see, If women were held morally accountable to any meaningful extent, especially in their dealings with men, it would set feminism on a slippery slope toward extinction. Call that the executive summary. Now let's dig into the fine points.
Feminism, as I have explained elsewhere, is built upon a system of manichean essentialism. This, like any kind of manicheism, holds that good and evil are a categorically absolute duality. And like any kind of essentialism, it holds that certain qualities are inherent to an object from the moment of its creation - factory-installed if you will.
Thus, the manichean essentialism of feminism holds that women are categorically good by nature, and men categorically evil. As a principle for daily application, this translates as: men in their essence are morally inferior to women; therefore men are the bad guys when any conflict with women arises.
Now, almost any self-declared feminist would deny that manichean essentialism is a feminist doctrine—and I doubt that you would find it flatly stated anywhere in the allegedly "official" corpus of feminist writings. After all, it's a nervy thing for even a radical feminist to say! Even Mary Daly doesn't quite say it unequivocally, and as for Valerie Solanas - well, you know the drill: she's "not really a feminist".
So in order to uncloak feminism's manichean essentialism, you must proceed by reverse investigation from other feminist ideas, or from commonplace feminist behaviors. The presence of such ideas or behaviors will logically signal the existence of a certain prior concept, on the principle that where there is smoke there is fire.
And what we find is, that real-life feminists persistently behave in a style that comports with manichean essentialism—as if this were a motivating subtext at the bottom of all their words and deeds. Listen closely and you will catch the sound of it, like a serpent hissing deep inside the woodpile: "Sssssss! Man bad! Woman good!"
How, for example, to explain the almost unfailing feminist habit of letting women off the hook for nearly any transgression large or small - especially if it gains wide exposure in the media? Such feminist behavior seems to operate with even greater force when the transgression involves a man.
Yes. Feminism, as an ideology and as a movement, must always put women in the right and men in the wrong. And why is this? Because: feminism equals female supremacism. Female supremacism is an objectively real force in the world, a culture virus borne by many people who reveal it in many ways, and whatever you might think feminism is, it can neither exist in moral isolation from the reality of female supremacism, or fail to adopt a consistent moral stance toward that reality.
Manichean essentialism is the metaphysical cornerstone for female supremacism: it is the tiger in the female supremacist tank, and without it, female supremacism wouldn't travel far at all. And the distillation of female supremacism in practice, is to give women the upper hand over men in every possible situation.
In order to rationalize female supremacism, feminist apologetics begins with a conspiracy theory of history, known as patriarchy theory. According to patriarchy theory, men have always held most of the power on earth, and have employed this power willfully to trap women in a state of subjugation. Patriarchy theory, you would say, is a macro-construct, and yet it purports to explain all of life—even daily life at the micro-level.
Feminism wouldn't survive long without patriarchy theory because it would need to treat both men and women as individuals with moral agency. If feminist analysis had to factor life in all of its moral complexity and shades of grey, it would never develop enough traction to either make political headway or justify feminism's existence in the first place.
Luckily, patriarchy theory rides to the rescue and makes life morally simple. Women, we are given to understand, lack equal power under the patriarchy system and so are constantly driven to "game" that system in order to level the playing field and "get their own back". Thus, according to feminism, every woman becomes a kind of moral Robin Hood on behalf of the sisterhood, robbing the rich (read: men) and giving to the poor (read: women).
So, if it appears that the woman in your life is "playing games" with you, you need to become more sensitive to your patriarchal privilege, and try to understand the subtle ways that you are violating her and making it necessary for her to act that way in the first place. That is how patriarchy theory explains your life! Men have all the power, therefore men are the problem.
The possibility that women might be wrongdoers on their own initiative, and actually do wrong (especially toward men), simply does not factor into feminism's moral calculus. Your average feminist will only grudgingly and with great reluctance allow that woman X might have been the guilty party in transaction Y—and only after every mitigating possibility has been hyper-analyzed to the last molecule. To extract any "judgmental" statement about a guilty woman from the average feminist, is like extracting teeth.
As a rule, a feminist hates to admit that women, or any particular woman, could be in the wrong about anything at all! Time and time again you see this. Feminist Robin Morgan (who once famously remarked that men should "possibly not exist") campaigned to get the would-be murderess Valerie Solanas out of jail; feminists everywhere were curiously untroubled when Lorena Bobbitt sliced off her husband's penis with a kitchen knife, and they even gloated about this; feminists everywhere will (on deeply flawed evidence) insist that "women are only violent in self-defense", or that "women never lie about rape", despite well-grounded probative evidence that neither of these statements is true. On it goes. . .
Keep your eyes open and you will see this pattern of feminist behavior replay itself time and time again.
Among other useful functions, patriarchy theory veils manichean essentialism, by offering a 'structural' explanation of male transgression. Men are "bad" only because patriarchy "makes them" that way. "I blame patriarchy" is the standard feminist cop-out: they may continually place men in the wrong (and on the defensive) without professing any belief in manichean essentialism—not even to themselves!
Without patriarchy theory serving as a prop, the feminist would need to address a complex world in which men and women share the blame equally, albeit in varied measure from place to place, and the business of liberating women would collapse into the all-but-unanswerable question of: "liberate women from what?"
From men? From other women? Or from the entire big, sprawling human mess?
Patriarchy theory would go to pieces like a bad suit if women were held morally accountable as individuals. And after that it would be impossible any longer to fudge the question of manichean essentialism, for it would soon become necessary to make a flat statement of belief or disbelief in this idea—at which point, the entire feminist enterprise would stand before a board of inquest. If you said, "yes, I think women are essentially good and men are essentially evil", you would look like a moral idiot. And if you said "no, I think men and women are morally equal", then you would render feminism pointless and toothless. Either way, you would condemn it to a long slide down the slippery slope to extinction.
But patriarchy theory keeps manichean essentialism forever at bay by means of an evasionary dither. It is no wonder that the average feminist hates to admit that women might upon occasion be in the wrong. Once you start down the road of allowing that women are even capable of wrongdoing (and then admitting more and more cases in practice), it ends in the collapse of feminism altogether, by rendering any theory of collective male transgression unworkable.
Patriarchy theory is manifestly flawed, and disingenuously employed by the feminists. It is a theory which pretends to explain all of life, and yet if it truly DID explain all of life, this would mean that no sector of reality could operate outside its reach. And if such were the case, nobody would have any moral agency, being trapped by the patriarchal "script" in a state of moral robot-hood.
Yes, feminism's inborn proclivity is to bestow moral robot-hood on everybody—but most especially on women. And the shimmering, razor-thin line which divides moral robot-hood from moral agency, is the very same line that divides the feminist zone of influence from the entire non-feminist sector. That bright line, precisely, is the boundary.
Connect the dots and you will discover that bright line readily enough. Consider the many, many ways that women are given a pass or given a waiver—the prevarications, rationalizations, strained extenuations, praisings by faint damnations. Trace them from one to the next until they join together in an all-embracing circuit, like a contour line on a topographical map which wraps clear around the base of a mountain. You could even run a yellow highlighting pen around that line on the map, to make it stand out brightly.
The feminist strategy of concealment is to shade by gradual degrees into the surrounding world, so that the boundary between feminism and the rest of the universe becomes impossible to fix with any precision. This renders feminism invulnerable to attack because it offers no well-defined target area. But we have seen that the issue of women's moral accountability marks off the feminist perimeter with all of the necessary exactitude. This makes feminism available as a target, as a zone of common understanding easily recognized and agreed upon by the rest of the world.
And that bright line around the mountain: you might picture it as a collar. Or possibly even a noose! And to call attention to that bright line—to PREACH that line, let us say—would be almost as if your were pulling the noose tighter. Need I say more?
So . . . when will the feminists hold women morally accountable?
In other words, when will feminism PREACH THAT BRIGHT LINE?
Fidelbogen . . . out!