LIBERALISM, FEMINISM, MASCULISM AND OTHER CATASTROPHES
Some people think I'm having an identity crisis because I do not call myself either a liberal (US interpretation) or a conservative. But the truth is that I am both and neither. If my thinking is to be described as "liberal", then let's call it "responsible liberalism". If my thinking is to be described as "conservative", then let's call it "autopoietic conservatism" (where "autopoietic" derives from systems theory, and means "self-making").
Responsible liberalism acknowledges the vulnerability of the living condition. It implies that we take responsibility for the choices we make. Autopoietic conservatism means that we make choices from our ecologies (Culture) and that these choices shape what we become - the effect being, that we take responsibility for the choices that we make. The bottom line? Responsible liberalism absolutely equals autopoietic conservatism - a simple convergence of fundamental truths.
The difference between responsible liberalism and mainstream (established) liberalism is the difference between free market principles and free-for-all market principles.
As mainstream liberals come in for harsh criticism throughout this website, let's qualify what we mean by "liberalism" (where we apply the US meaning of the word to describe western, socialist ideology). Free speech, free markets, equal opportunity (not equal outcome), treating the populace as mature, responsible adults capable of making their own choices and decisions are good things, and the mark of advanced, civilized cultures. We don't wish to sully such noble characteristics by associating them with the label of liberalism. But liberalism the "ism", liberalism the group-think, makes broad leaps in assumptions. If they call pornography free speech (I don't hear much intelligible speech taking place in pornographic movies, but hey...), then I think there is a case to be said for making murder, execution, or whatever, justifiable under free speech (and justifiable under that ultimate expression of free speech and free markets - the law of survival, the survival of the fittest, with nature red in tooth and claw. The rugged beauty of natural selection is libertarianism (that mutant sibling of liberalism) taken to its logical conclusion). So perhaps it is just a question of degree. For just as lives are altered in murder, so too, lives are altered in pornography, in sexual "freedom" and all those other perks that mainstream liberals misconstrue for freedom and liberty.
Besides. Let us draw a clear distinction between speech versus marketing. Debating the merits of pornography is speech and should rightfully remain free. Peddling pornography on the streets is pollution. It is the finished product and its presence constantly reminds us of the options that are culturally sanctioned, along with MacDonalds hamburgers, the New York Times newspaper and Sony DVD players. It constantly lures with its aroma, inviting passers by, to whom it might otherwise not occur, that they too can partake of this forbidden fruit - for it is no longer forbidden. Should adults be free to choose pornography? If we go down this slippery slope, then we might rightfully ask, should adults be free to choose murder? Should adults be free to steal? Well, in a natural ecology with nature red in tooth and claw - the ultimate anarchy - the answer is clearly, a resounding yes. But has not western civilization come to the conclusion that anarchies are not sustainable?
Another serious problem with liberalism is the logical inconsistency that exists between liberalism as socialism and the supposed "liberty" that liberals often espouse - the logical contradiction of liberals holding libertarian views. Do liberals, with all their constraints on behavior, with all their political correctness, even know what "free speech" and "civil liberties" are?
Let's be clear about this. Liberals don't believe in liberty. The liberties that liberals espouse are the fashionable liberties, the "liberties" of peer pressure, the immature, adolescent liberties of giving the finger to authority. But just as the unwritten codes of adolescent peer pressure crush the spirit, so too, the unwritten codes of liberals stifle creativity and individualism, dumbing down society with the soul-crushing dictates of political correctness.
Liberals might like to associate themselves with the pioneers of modern liberalism, the hippies, who spoke of "love" and "peace". But with their blatant misandry and their hatred of conservatism, our modern liberals clearly haven't a clue what these words mean. They accuse the "Patriarchy" of being war-mongers and selfish. Predictably and without evidence they churn out their mantras, of wars being motivated solely by oil, of capitalist oppression, etc. Yet it is the liberals who are most motivated by hate. They are so driven by hatred of conservatism, of family and of all things "Patriarchal" that they don't see any contradiction between the "love" and "peace" proclaimed in their philosophy and their anti-social programs funded by the Taxpayer in the fulfillment of their nefarious agenda. They remain blissfully oblivious to their role in societal decay. Yet it is they, with their political correctness, with their slavish conformity to peer pressure, who are more conservative than the conservatives they despise.
And so when we talk of liberalism we talk of hypocrisy, of fadism and peer pressure, of the envy that is institutionalized in their philosophy of equal outcome. We talk of the conservatism that is political correctness. We talk of liberal fascism.
Pro Truth; Pro Justice; Pro Equality; Pro Liberty;
Anti-feminism has nothing to do with gender
We need a new kind of movement expressed with a new kind of language. We need a new kind of movement that nurtures respect for both genders. Feminism has done men and women enormous harm. It has denigrated traditional women's roles. And now that women are being shown to flee the career track in favour of the escape hatch of stay-at-home mom (e.g., New York Times, The Opt-Out Revolution), women might begin asking themselves, what is their lot in life? As a consequence of Affirmative Action, people might begin looking at female newscasters and female corporate executives and asking themselves, are there any women who have earned their high profiles and high salaries, in a spirit of equal competition? It might begin to dawn on us.... where before feminism, men used to open car doors for the li'l ladies (presumably because they couldn't open car doors themselves), today, deferring men let women in front of them in the job queue, presumably because women are unable to compete on their own merits.
But the reactionary response to feminism, otherwise manifested in masculism, masculinism or whatever you want to call it, is ultimately a different form of the same old gender-polarization. Sure, the men’s movement has legitimate claims. And men deserve a voice. And maybe a men’s organisation is best placed to understand men’s issues, just as a women’s organisation is best placed to understand women’s issues. But must all this continue to be expressed in the context of a gender war?
In his book Sexploytation, Mathew Fitzgerald provides an absolutely brilliant, well-written expose of obsessive feminine self-indulgence. However, my views diverge from his on those occasions when he gets onto the topic of male sexual needs, and the inherent unfairness of women exploiting men because of men's biological urges. This idea that men are victims of their sex drives is directly analogous to the feminist victim mentality, where women refuse to leave the batterers that abuse them – you know, "those nasty men and the women who love them" mantra. Some men are now saying "those nasty women and the men who need them".
Any preoccupation with men's “needs” and "urges" is unnecessary. The simple truth is that when a man allows himself to be a slave to his biological urges, he enters into a pact with the devil where his complicity is an agreement to the terms of his own oppression (which is exactly the same as when a woman chooses a wallet-as-provider or wife-beater-as-provider). I am reminded of the relationship between the female black-widow spider and the suicidal male. For his brief moment of nooky, the male spider surrenders his very life.
I’ve seen it on these men’s groups, where men describe feminists as man-haters. Where do we think this hatred of men comes from? Does it just miraculously appear from a vacuum? Or is there something else that needs to be factored into the equation?
The problem with Western epistemology
In case it hasn't occured to anyone who has read thus far, we are dealing with something far more complex than the simplistic duality between feminism versus a men's movement or between liberalism and conservatism. We are dealing with the whole western epistemology, the whole basis upon which we know and understand our worlds. I said it best in my post to the Evolutionary Psychology discussion group:
Re: [evol-psych] Oxford Scientist Launches Sharp Critique of Religion
Obviously we can concur with much of Dawkins' reasoning about religion. It never ceases to amaze me how adults often live and die for the religion they were inculcated with from childhood on no basis other than it was the belief with which they were inculcated at childhood. How can these people so arrogantly dismiss the rest of humanity as stupid and misguided - for that is indeed the implication of their narrow-mindedness. Only recently I was involved in a “discussion” with a fully grown adult who kept on referring to the bible to substantiate his beliefs, in complete shutdown with respect to my disputations that the bible was written by people with human hands and minds.
However.... I also have difficulties with an unproven life science devoid of general principles. Isaac Newton managed to put together a compelling model of nature, and we see and live with the power of his genius every day, in the cars we drive and the buildings we work in. Where’s an analogous sweeping vision for a life science that can account for something as fundamental as animal consciousness or gender roles? Where’s the vision that can wrap it all up, to combine philosophy with psychology with politics and biology and physics with mathematics and logic and rigour…. into a single, hard-hitting vision that can put us all at peace?
Let’s take, for example, something as fundamental as gender. There is a simple fact about gender roles, that came out in a recent thread here (refer to “the opt-out revolution”, message 27965). Lisa Belkin asks the rhetorical question "Why don't women run the world?" Her answer is "Maybe it's because they don't want to". What is it that we have not been getting for so long, in this long-running gender debate? The answer - choice. Women don’t WANT to run the world. Can the answer really be this simple? If the genius of Newton is evident in our daily lives as we drive to work, the bankruptcy of our life sciences is evident in our politics and our policies that have failed to account for the choices that people make and the shaping of desire.
How primitive is our understanding when, for example, we so confuse equal outcome with equal opportunity? We congratulate ourselves for our progressive, liberal values. But what is it that we are not apprehending, for example, in this era of sexual “enlightenment”, where by implication, our “unenlightened” ancestors must have been desperate, misguided misfits with unresolved yearnings? Like the arrogant religious, we condemn as ignorant and illiterate, our previous generations that have failed to live up to our progressive, enlightened ideals. Can we moderns really be held to be superior to our ancestors? Just like Christians or Muslims hold themselves to be superior to the heathen or the infidel. What is it that we have trouble wrapping our brains around?
Dawkins may have made many of us basking in the sunshine of his secular anti-religiosity feel comfy, but he has really failed to provide a compelling alternative. Indeed, what he proposes is itself a form of religion. It must be, by virtue of its refusal to confront inconsistencies - just like my friend’s refusal to confront the inconsistency that God's Holy Bible was written by human hands and minds. For example, the belief in evolution by way of dumb luck (with natural selection as the “filter” of random accidents) refuses to confront an inconsistency that many of us feel to be self-evident - the humungus improbability of complex entities such as eyes (Dawkins’ explanation of the Nautilus’ pinhole eye notwithstanding) as the outcome of a progression through natural history of happy accidents. The potential inconsistencies implied in back-mutations, for example, or in mutations as increasing disorder (not order), all these very serious concerns are devoid of the analytical rigour that we routinely apply to mathematics and engineering. We are simply expected to buy the mutation-as-source-of-variety myth (even though Charles Darwin probably never even heard of the genetics of his young contemporary, Mendel) and accept it as a given, in this non-Darwinian interpretation of Darwin’s natural selection. The most damaging aspect of this hyper-secular, extremist view is its impact on our understanding of desire and the importance of the choices that we and other organisms make from our respective ecologies.
So while we can rightly applaud Dawkins for his commonsense views on mainstream, established religions, we must surely have cause to question an equally subjective account that fails to apprehend the brick wall of impossibility that confronts our modern life sciences. Where’s the life-science of general, simple principles that provides the rock whereupon we can build a theory as compelling as that provided by Isaac Newton in the physical sciences?