« Quick reaction to the show, and John has a blog | Main | Profeminists, Christian Men's Groups, and Men's News Daily, updated »

January 24, 2005

Comments

Aegis

mythago said:
"Actually, if you read old codes of chivalry, you will see that it was never gallantry towards women. It was gallantry towards ladies. Not all females. "The Art of Courtly Love," in fact, has a whole explanation of how while one treats a lady with the utmost respect, it's okay to slake one's base urges on (i.e, rape) peasants because they don't notice it much anyway."

Thanks for pointing this out. My point stands, though. In the modern permutation of chivalry, the distinction you mention doesn't exist.

mythago said:
"You also don't see men's-rights activists advocating homosexuality or reaching out to gay men; and any time I've asked custody activists if they have programs to help gay men whose wives used that fact to deny them custody, I am met with stony silence.

And it makes no sense. What is there about being pro-male that leads to being anti-gay? Why is the men's-rights movement so blatantly heterosexist?"

Actually, Warren Farrell has identified homophobia as a problem for men. He has said this as far back as "Why Men Are They Way They Are" in 1986. Also, I am not sure that the men's movement is anti-gay (although some individuals in it might be). I think the men's rights movement mainly focuses on issues that don't have anything to do with homosexuality. Nevertheless, if homosexuality is an issue in custody battles then, as you say, it should be addressed.

circular

The whole notion that men are privelidged because they are men and women are burdened because they are women is in fact a intellectualized gender construct. You completely and utterly fail to move beyond the whole victim/blame game paradigm. This head space is what keeps people down. l am starting to think that it is people like hugo who actually perpetuate these social enequalities by promulgating this self imprisoning way of thinking. The idea that the so-called male oppressors must yield in order that the so called oppressed females may rise and that women need to be protected from the evil men strikes me as negativity boarding on defeatism. Why would the powerful willingly give up their power?

bmmg39

"bmmg, I'm glad to hear you're not homophobic. Alas, you seem to be in the enormous minority--cf. Glenn Sacks's snide comment about gay men to Hugo."

I wouldn't say "enormous minority" -- again, we must be careful with the sample size we select.

"You also don't see men's-rights activists advocating homosexuality or reaching out to gay men; and any time I've asked custody activists if they have programs to help gay men whose wives used that fact to deny them custody, I am met with stony silence."

Well, "advocating" for homosexuality is a little like "advocating" for left-handedness; it isn't as though people switch. I can tell you that, on the sites I go to, if someone makes a homophobic or misogynist statement, that person will often be called onto the carpet for it. I've also debated the word "feminist" with people, as I don't think that feminism itself is evil, but I do wish the name would change to "egalitarian" because that word is, well, more egalitarian. I oppose misandry, not feminism, although I submit that many who CALL themselves feminists have large misandric streaks in them, whereas others do not.

I also belong to an anti-abuse website, www.safe4all.org, that assists the "lesser-known" subsets such as straight men, gays and lesbians, teens and the elderly, but we obviously assist straight women, too...

craichead

Actually, I think you'll find that there is a very distinct subset within men's rights activists that are decidedly supportive of gay men.

Now I consider myself more an activist for libertarian politics and limited gov't and I think that I overlap with many men's rights activists. But the way I see it, there are two or three distinct paths to ending up an MRA. One path is clearly through conservative politics.

But there is another path -- and one that I came from ultimately -- that comes from both liberal politics and active suppport of feminism.

There are many men involved in this movement now who, when we were younger, were very supportive and somewhat active in feminism -- especially in college. We had feminist girlfriends, we marched in take back the night rallies and supported affirmative action.

But then many of us came up against a crisis in our lives that pitted our interests or well-being against the interests of the groups and sometimes individuals that we once worked along side. For me, it was my relationship with a woman who is physically violent. It's a real eye opener to work to change attitudes to see women get the support systems they need so they and their children can escape dangerous relationships, and then when we asked for help we were met with intense hostility.

craichead

And so, while many people like Hugo may see our hurt and our anger as misdirected or that what we're feeling is grief for the loss of our privelege and frustration over an inability to control women, what we're actually feeling is grief over personal loss and frustration over an inability to simply control our own lives in the face of a system that would so readily and easily boot us out of our families.

La Lubu

"what we're actually feeling is grief over personal loss and frustration over an inability to simply control our own lives in the face of a system that would so readily and easily boot us out of our families."

Bingo. I think you're on to something there, craic. And I'd like to get back to ya on that and a discussion of domestic violence, but I've got an appointment to make! I'll be back later. I think that statement says a lot, and gives a lot to build on.

Lawrence Krubner

"I can't even begin to tell you how incorrect this is. Yes, Marxism has made an impact on all of the social sciences at one point or another, and yes, some elements of Marxist approaches can still be found in each of them."

Doris Lessing was impressed with how much Marxism had reshaped the social sciences, and also those public views that collectively might be considered the "conventional wisdom" of her day. She wrote "Any set of ideas so universally accepted must be a spent force." She had lived to see Winston Churchill accept the power of the labor unions, and for the idea of the forces of production shaping the relations of production be absorbed by almost everyone. So universally were some socialist accepted that the state, in the mid 20th century, became the agent of many social-democrat reforms, and Left gave up on its own anti-state tradition (forgetting those socialists who had previously argued that the state was always the enemy of the worker).

Still, I think we can agree that this was a wave that peaked 40 years ago and has since been in retreat. Friedman and Hayek have gained more ground in the last 40 years than Marx.

craichead

I agree with you in some ways, but I think that in terms of an analogous form of Marxism, the paradigm remains strong. I mean take Ampersand's privelege list for instance.


that thing's been kicking around for years and I've discussed and debated it on many occasions. While we can poke holes in it, one thing you'll find is that ultimately the opposing argument becomes something like, "sure some of those things happen to men too, but don't you understand? Men as a class oppress women as a class." It's become a ubiquitous part of our popular consciousness even though one could point out different paradigms and constructs prevalent in specific social sciences.

craichead

And another thing that I'd point out is that even though people like Friedman have gained ground again, their perspectives are largely ignored by the left.

Take anything from global economics to the environmental movement. Every single one of those so called progressive movements in some way involve a denial of the strengthening of individual rights in exchange for a collective that somehow knows how to manage better and ultimately is couched in an anti-capialist argument.

One of the best books I've read in the last few years is one called "the Mystery of Capital" by a Peruvian economist named Hernando DeSoto.

DeSoto points out that a major part of the crisis of poverty in developing countries is not a lack of resources, intellect, hard work or good governance, but a lack of harmonized meaningful legal infrastructure that supports individual rights to property.

It's an excellent work supported by sound research AND experiment (which was truly unbeleivable) yet it's ignored by those fighting poverty in the third world.

Why? Because they don't trust individuals to manage their own environments and resources.

bmmg39

"But then many of us came up against a crisis in our lives that pitted our interests or well-being against the interests of the groups and sometimes individuals that we once worked along side. For me, it was my relationship with a woman who is physically violent."

You are part of the silent (but fortunately increasingly less silent) mass of men and boys who has suffered at the hands of a violent woman or girl, and you have my support. Feel free to view our website at www.safe4all.org.

La Lubu

There's still a whole lot of consciousness raising to do concerning domestic violence. The image of DV is still the little black-eyed woman hovered over by the big brutal man, who keeps her isolated from her family and from employment. It's an accurate picture for some survivors of DV, but is far from representative. DV is still believed by many to be something that happens to "those" people, not something that could possibly happen to "me". The complexity and prevalence of DV is still not recognized in the popular imagination. Popular belief still stresses that only the severely injured are really suffering DV; that "everyday violence" likes slaps, punches and kicks isn't "really" DV.

The stigma is still there for survivors, both male and female. DV is still seen by many as an isolated, or series of isolated incidents, rather than as an escalating pattern of behavior.

So, when you come here and tell me that you've been abused, craic....I believe you. I've been there. But dismissal of your real experience isn't something that just happens to men; it happens to women who don't fit the preconceived image, too. And not only do we (you, me, everybody else that's been in that position) have the judgement calls of other to deal with, we tend to pass that judgement on ourselves---we've internalized those messages in a way that continues the damage.

I think it's a part of human nature to see where we have roadblocks, rather than advantages. I think every language in the world has a phrase that roughly corresponds to our English "the grass is always greener". And we experience life in our fullness, not in pieces, so lists of privilege (white, male, straight, etc.) aren't really designed to be indicative of what every person will experience...but rather a tool to think about what does fit one's life, and to stimulate a little discussion or examination based on that. Like Xrlq said, it's basically for the choir; it's not going to convince anyone who isn't already thinking on those lines. People will or won't fit certain lines on the list based on other aspects of who they are---a poor man will find fewer "fits" on that list than a rich man, a gay man fewer than a straight, and so on. It's a tool for self-questioning, not for convincing the opposition.

The same vehement response that a lot of men have to the "male privilege checklist" can be found in whites (including the left-leaning ones) regarding the "white privilege checklist". Again, the point of the exercise isn't "your blues are not like mine" (even if they aren't), but to see where your advantages are, and develop some insight from that. Those aren't static lists, or at least I hope they aren't! The goal is that someday they will be irrelevant. We're not there yet.

So, here you are, a man who did the liberal feminist thing, and feels abandoned because now you don't have that structural support....am I on the right track? Here, you did your part, yet the institutional and/or cultural structures to support you when the chips are down, don't exist. Am I going in the right direction, or am I way off base here? You tell me.

Lawrence Krubner

"I understand because I have a child to take care of too, but I don't see it as a gov't mission for someone to make it easier for me."

You don't want the government to make it a mission to help you. Just a few questions about this, please:

1.) When you say government, do you mean the Federal government, or every level of government? I know some people who insist political power should be close to the people, and they'd accept help from a state or municpal program that they wouldn't accept from the Federal government.

2.) If you don't want help from any level of government, is that because you don't want any help at all, or because you want help, but want it to come from non-governmental sources?

3.) If you only want help from non-governmental sources, would you accept help from non-profits that sometimes receive government funding? (A private school for your child, perhaps, which offers a scholoarship, but that still gets some grant money from the government?)

4.) If you don't want help from any organization that takes money from the government, are open to recieving help from voluntary organizations like perhaps a church you might belong to?

5.) If not, do you want or expect help from members of your extended family? If so, why?

Lawrence Krubner

"And another thing that I'd point out is that even though people like Friedman have gained ground again, their perspectives are largely ignored by the left."

That's fine, but then the same is also true of the Right. Hayek is more intelligent than his fans. When I read "The Road To Serfdom" I was stunned by Hayek's moderateness. I'd come to hear of Hayek in the mid-90s when he was being referred to by the likes of Newt Gingrich and some of the more radical elements that had come to Congress as part of Gingrich's 1994 Contract With America. Given the hysterical nature of the right-wingers who were citing him, I expected Hayek to also be hysterical. Instead I found him to be a voice of cool moderation. But that tone of cool moderation is largely ignored by his those who cite him. Consider what he writes (from page 44 of The Road To Serfdom):

"There are undoubted fields where no legal arrangements can create the main condition on which the usefulness of the system of competition and private property depends: namely, that the owner benefits from all the useful services rendered by his property and suffers for all the damages caused to others by its use... When the damage caused to others by certain uses of property cannot be effectively charged to the owner of that property. In all these instances there is a divergence between the items which enter into private calculation and those which affect social welfare."

He goes on to list all the things that the governement is right to regulate: workplace conditions, smoke and noise of factories, deforestration, etc. He was no radical arguing that government was useless.

Hayek also wrote (page xxxvi, preface of 1956):

"It is true, of course, that in the struggle against the believers in the all-powerful state the true liberal must sometimes make common cause with the conservative."

What a deal with the devil that's turned out to be!

He also writes, in a line relevant to your stated apprehensions about feminism (page 21, TRTS):

"There is nothing in the basic principles of liberalism to make it a stationary creed; there are no hard-and-fast rules fixed once and for all. The fundamental principle that in the ordering of our affairs we should make as much use as possible of the spontaneous forces of society, and resort as little as possible to coercion, is capable of an infinite variety of applications... Probably nothing has done so much harm to the liberal cause as the wooden insistence of some liberals on certain rough rules of thumb, above all the principle of laissez faire."

I'm sad that the Left has ignored Hayek, because he has much to say to them. But the Right has made a fetish of ignoring his words while citing him as a relevant authority. Which is the worst crime against intellectual honesty?

craichead

I know what you mean, and while I haven't read that book, Hayek sounds about like what I believe.

Have you read the DeSoto book? If you haven't you should check it out. It's written decently, but the one problem is that he makes his point early in the book and tends to keep repeating it. It's important insight though, I think.

This is getting off thread some, but I sometimes lately view the battle between left and right today as a battle between objectivism and Marxism. There's a paradox in each though as they each seem to disconnect social liberty from economic liberty. The right values social determinism and economic liberty while the left values social liberty and economic determinism. In the end social liberty and economic liberty become convergent concepts.

I find, unfortunately that each uses their ideology as an affirmation to plunder.

Lawrence Krubner

"The right values social determinism and economic liberty while the left values social liberty and economic determinism. "

William Kristol a few years ago made the remark: "The culture wars are over. The Left won on the cultural issues and the Right won on economic issues."

My own private feeling is that America won the culture wars. We are freer now in every sense. Women, blacks, gays, Jews, Hispanics and even white men have more personal freedom now than ever before, and they face less institutionalized bias, and they live in a country where the law is less personal and more formal than ever before. And economically, we live in a less regulated world than what we had 40 years ago.

zuzu

And yet there are those who want to turn the clock back, Lawrence: we have the James "SpongeDob Stickypants" Dobsons and the Brent Bozells and the Michael Powells trying to set the decency-in-media clock back to the 1950s, and we have the Bush Administration trying to dismantle the New Deal and return the country to the 1920s economically. And these are people with power enough to do it (though, thankfully, the Social Security effort is running into strong opposition on both sides of the aisle, since politicians know that their constituents love the program and the AARP can beat their asses). The tax cuts have resulted in huge deficits that so threaten the stability of the world economy that the World Bank has recently warned that the US deficits could cause a correction that would have devastating consequences worldwide.

Lawrence Krubner

zuzu, I think every social advance is followed by a long pause. The slaves were freed in 1865, but it wasn't till 1964 that they had their full rights protected. Women got the vote in 1920, but didn't get the rest of their civil right till 1964. White non-noble males had no rights till the civil rights revolution of 1641-1688, but even then it wasn't till the 1760s that the revival or working class radicalism ensured that these rights applied to working class men. During that long pause that follows an advance, the issues just gained are under contention. But there is no instance in anglosphere history of rights actually being rolled back. Since 1641 we've seen an expansion of democracy and rights. I can't think of a single time a group has been given a set of rights that was later taken away.

zuzu

I can't think of a single time a group has been given a set of rights that was later taken away.

I'm sure the Japanese-Americans who spent time in internment camps would disagree with you.

Lawrence Krubner

zuzu, I meant more in the sense of a law being passed giving a group civil rights protection, and then another law being passed that it took it away.

zuzu

Well, considering Asians were barred from citizenship for a long time, then allowed to become citizens, then herded into camps by the government, I'd say that fits the criteria.

sucksess of socialism

The beautiful thing about socialism is that a segment of society can live off the backs of another. It matters not how this is rationalised, its just plainly obvious. Over 50% of the sweat off your brow and the fruits of you labour go to some all knowning, pretentiously sanctimonious politburo for redistribution. All you do under this system is lower the bar. You cap human capacity. Whilst l can see a place for assissting the truely deprived, our capitalist driven, profit motivated social welfare state is out of control. Like the sort of help you would give to a 5 yrs old dump scavanging Phillipino, rather than a 3 times a day mcdonalds eating, 2 pack a day cigarette smoking, unemployed angry person.

The new deal should have been called the new steal. The idea of just pumping the money supply and borrowing to finance spending steels from the future. We suck what we can out of it and pass the tab onto future generations. Looks at the US twind deficits. Scarey. But what the hey, we got our rights to fight for. Oppressors who need to be oppressed. Memorials to pay for and free lunches to be had.

Lawrence Krubner

"Riiiiight. I'm sure all those women being stoned to death for adultery and the victims of the Inquisition would agree with you."

zuzu, as craic said, these are acts that happen with political sanction. Martin Luther King once wrote "It is important that we remember that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal." His point is that just because something is legal doesn't make moral. Hitler won an election and then changed the laws so that the Holocaust could happen according to the law. That doesn't make it right.

The Spanish Inquisition only happened in those nations where Catholicism was enforced by the government.

I think you might be able to find a few instances where mob violence allowed a majority to spontaneously and illegally murder a minority. But for the most part, I think what craic said is true, the most famous auto de fe's were all done with government backing. Religion is rarely dangerous until it has the full backing of the government.

Lawrence Krubner

"Over 50% of the sweat off your brow and the fruits of you labour go to some all knowning, pretentiously sanctimonious politburo for redistribution."

That happens under liberal political systems as well - just look at the United States, where state spending equals 45% of the GDP. It also happens under monarchy's and dictatorships. It happens under every system known to the human race. One can conclude that human beings have large social needs and that the best that can be done to address those needs is to democratize control over how the resources are collected and spent. Thus, the near-universal agreement among Americans today that living under a liberal republican regime is the most fair way of collecting and allocating resources.

But I think some might argue that in true socialism all capital accumulation happens at the state level, so there is no 50% being taken away from you because you never had it in the first place.


"The idea of just pumping the money supply and borrowing to finance spending steels from the future."

When the government resorts to monetary expansion at a time of full employment then then government's policies are probably irresponsible and inflationary. To the extent they are inflationary, they essentially steal money from savers and give it as a free gift to borrowers. However, when there are slack resources in the system, as during a recession, the economy can be revived through monetary expansion without any inflationary effect. In such circumstances it is hard to say that such policies are unfair to anyone.


"We suck what we can out of it and pass the tab onto future generations. Looks at the US twind deficits. Scarey. But what the hey, we got our rights to fight for. Oppressors who need to be oppressed."

It is absolutely terrifying to behold America's out-of-control spending. I voted for John Kerry because he struck me as the most likely candidate to bring spending under control.

Lawrence Krubner

zuzu, yes, but they were never given full rights as citizens. Same with Jews and blacks. They were all treated horribly until the 1964 Civil Rights Act.

zuzu

But Lawrence, the example still holds, because, for instance, they had the same rights as other Asians, even if that was less than that accorded white citizens, but were stripped of whatever rights they did have vis-a-vis other citizen of their second-class status.

As for the religion, there isn't always state sanction. What about when mobs of various religions attack each other? There was a whole lot of that kind of violence in India not too long ago -- I remember hearing about mosque burnings and the attack on a train full of (I think) Hindus by Muslims. The former Yugoslavia broke up when various ethnic/religious factions started in on each other -- the government action followed. The Taliban, too, was a religious movement that turned into a government due to a power vacuum.

And, you know, there was 9/11, which was not a state-sponsored issue (really!). There's also violence within religious sects, as opposed to inter-sect, such as the violence against Muslim girls in France who refuse to take the veil (the rise of this kind of violence was one of the factors leading to the ban on religious paraphernalia in public schools there). Oh, and Theo Van Gogh.

So, in short, it doesn't take a government, though it often takes an assertion of power in a governmental capacity.

In other news, I find it amusing that the anti-socialist example sounds remarkably like what happens with capitalism, where those at the top profit from the sweat of others' brows.

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

Regular reads

Blog powered by Typepad
Member since 01/2004