Category Archives: Radical feminism

Why is there no counter-argument from the pro-PIV side?

There have been a number of entries written against PIV sex, including two of mine (here and here). Here are some others:

femonade’s series on intercourse
femonade’s radfem101 on PIV
PIV is always rape, ok? by radical wind
The problem with consent to intercourse by when women were warriors

These entries have been quoted and mocked on other web sites, including the self-professed reactionary site The Right Stuff and the white supremacist site takimag. They were also mocked on various forums (atheist foundation of australia, 4plebs, forum.bodybuilding.com). This is not by far all the exposure that the anti-PIV entries have gotten (as you can expect, reddit got into it as well), but the rest is pretty much more of the same.

I am not writing this entry to argue with the imbeciles who wrote these entries. Rather, my point is that I can’t argue back to these imbeciles because they haven’t presented anything of substance in response. When I say “anything,” I don’t mean that they just haven’t present an argument or empirical evidence, I literally mean anything.

I’ve said in a previous entry on PIV that all pro-PIV arguments basically reduce themselves to “me feel good when stick pee-pee in pussy, me big dick, me make baby, baby good” and “me feel good when pee-pee is in pussy, me ‘modern woman’.” But only one of the links I’ve found (the one from 4plebs) even gets that far, and no one has tried to get any farther than that level of discourse.

That’s pretty damn astounding, and conspicuous. Most of the time right-wing assholes love to argue as vehemently as they possibly can. No matter what the topic, you can always find right-wingers debate it endlessly and badly. PIV is an issue of central importance, so it should at least stimulate angry rebuttals. But we don’t see that.

When people don’t argue, it is generally because they consider the opposing position absurd and irrational beyond discussion. Few people debate the Flat Earth Society or David Icke, because those belief systems just seem too silly to even think about, let alone discuss with seriousness. In most debates, people think their opponents are stupid, but not absurd. They at least take their opponents’ positions seriously enough to discuss them in some way.

So my initial conclusion is that the anti-PIV position is not being discussed because our opponents think it is absurd.

Is the anti-PIV position absurd? How can that be, when everyone is aware of the health risks of PIV sex? A position is usually absurd when the social consensus goes against it, but to my knowledge there is no consensus to the effect that PIV sex is not risky, especially for women: rather the opposite, as the dangers of unwanted pregnancies and STDs are quite openly discussed in our societies as negative things that should be alleviated. So where’s the absurdity?

Does the absurdity lie in the rejection of PIV itself, as opposed to a liberal “just be careful” argument? But reactionaries constantly advocate banning things they consider to be morally wrong, so they obviously don’t consider such an attitude absurd.

Some have suggested to me that the anti-PIV position is considered absurd because of male entitlement to PIV. But men strenuously argue that there’s no such thing as male entitlement, therefore they do not seem to consider the male entitlement position itself to be absurd.

It can’t be that we’re putting into question people’s behavior in the bedroom, since there’s plenty of discussion going on about homosexuality, BDSM, spousal rape, and so on.

It’s possible that there are discussions going on about PIV somewhere, apart from the entries and the responses to them, and I am not aware of it. But if such discussion is going on, then why has no one brought it up as a response to our position?

So we come back to the paucity of arguments issue. The fact of the matter is that the people who push the pro-PIV line can’t really look rational or logical, because they have nothing to argue that is not purely hedonistic. I think they’re not saying anything because they simply don’t have anything to say. Instead of analyzing what the anti-PIV entries say, they either outright lie about what’s being said (as in The Right Stuff response) or turn it into a misogynistic, deliberately grossly offensive comedy bit (as in the takimag response).

I think male entitlement, ironically, has a lot to do with this lack of response. Female critics of PIV are assumed to be lonely virgins who rail against people who enjoy sex, and male critics of PIV are called “losers” and “betas” (as in the forum.bodybuilding.com discussion thread). In this way, all criticism of PIV can be easily reduced to personal unattractiveness, and the issue doesn’t even need to be thought about in any way.

I don’t really need to say this, but the attractiveness or social status of a person does not dictate the validity of their criticism. This is just a desperate form of evasion.

This bring to my mind another interesting question: why would anyone decide to label themselves as a defender of PIV, especially since it involves saying such laughable things? I can’t possibly see that any man would gain status from it, especially if I am right and the anti-PIV position is considered absurd. Perhaps it is simply a way for men to show that they agree with other men about how absurd it is, that they’re not some kind of penis-hating whackjob, but that doesn’t seem like much of a cohesive statement. Why do they even bother?

I do understand why right-wing nuts and genderists do it, because they are both committed to male entitlement and therefore must at least make a show of defending it. If they become aware of it, the existence of anti-PIV criticism must rankle them. They wish radical feminists would shut the hell up, get off the Internet, get raped, or just die. We know this because they tell radical feminists as much, every single day. And the equation between radical feminism and being anti-PIV is a longstanding one… otherwise they wouldn’t have made up the “fact” that “all radfem think sex is rape”; and to them, PIV is the epitome of sex, it’s what it all leads to, so being against sex means being against PIV.

It must be frustrating to realize that some people are attacking what they most cherish, and yet having absolutely nothing to argue in return. Take pity on the poor dudebros. All they want is to stick their penises in someone’s vagina, and here we are, blaming them for their completely natural urges that have nothing at all to do with the social context (especially pornography). Such cruelty cannot advance the feminist cause and will inevitably turn all men against it. So you see, they are right after all! Critics of PIV are just a bunch of losers who can’t get laid and who wouldn’t get touched by the opposite sex with a ten foot pole!

Yea, that last paragraph was completely sarcastic.

Incidentally, there was one entry I found that actually tried to engage the PIV issue (although with copious misogynistic slurs). I will discuss it in a later entry.

The reactionary genderist programme.

We know a reactionary gender programme exists, that genderism, like any other repressive institution experiencing pushback, will try to encode and justify the prejudices that it has defined in the past. We know this programme exists because we see people (like State and religious authorities, MRAs and other anti-feminists, and sexists in general) using it.

These institutions use pseudo-science to justify their prejudices. So for instance, you have economics (a pseudo-science) justifying capitalism (a repressive ideology). The lies told by economists are basically the propaganda base on which capitalism operates. Basically you have to look not at their statements as attempts at truth, but as propaganda.

Evolutionary psychology, I think, fulfills the same role for genderism. It’s the propaganda front for what genderists actually want us to believe, and reveals the truth of the situation.

In Neo-liberal Genetics: The Myths and Moral Tales of Evolutionary Psychology, Susan McKinnon discusses the main conclusions of evolutionary psychology. These are: social relations are strictly genetic, men pursue fertile women, women pursue men with resources.

Susan McKinnon’s main argument in the book is that these supposed scientific conclusions are actually debunked by the anthropological data we have. There is ample evidence that social relations are only partially about shared genes, and that for the most part men and women have been more interested about mutual affinity than anything else, although both men and women are also interested in the other person’s ability to provide resources.

But beyond that, I also want to point out that these three points help us understand the genderist agenda. Let me look through them in turn.

* All social relations follow from genetic calculations. What this basically amounts to is that the family unit is the only real social bond that exists, and that people follow Hamilton’s Rule (that altruistic attitudes can only evolve when the benefits given are in proportion to the genetic relatedness of the person you benefit).

So this fits perfectly within the conservative atomistic view of society, actually. The basic conservative view of society is that society is solely composed of individuals that assemble in family units to reproduce. How much they believe this, I don’t know, but it’s the view they put out to the world. The conclusion that kinship can only be based on genetics becomes the “scientific” support for this view.

The importance of the family, of procreation, of child-raising for right-wingers cannot be underestimated. All of that is supported by the belief that one’s “blood” must be “transmitted,” extended throughout history.

* Men prefer women who look fertile (e.g. who have youth, attractiveness, shapeliness). I’ve already pointed out that men as a class are pedophilic, and this belief that youth is inherently attractive to men acts as a justification for that (actual pedophiles use it as a rationale as well). It’s also known that men as a class are attracted to vulnerability (foot-binding, neck rings, corsets, high heels), and youth is a form of vulnerability.

As for “attractiveness” and “shapeliness,” we can see that these subjective standards support the practice of objectification, because for the most part men are the ones who determine what is “attractive” and “shapely” in women.

This belief about men’s preferences is based on the belief that women exist to stay at home to make and raise children, and only produce a small proportion of their society’s resources. This of course is historically a lie. But if you look at the more extreme genderists (like the Quiverfull), we see that’s what they want women to be: enslaved brood mares whose production is quaint and inconsequential. This is what right-wingers believe is the “natural” state of the family unit, which is sacrosanct.

* Women prefer men who have resources (e.g. status, ambitiousness, industriousness). This is tied to the belief that men are the providers of society, which is rationalized by telling the story that men went out to hunt and women stayed behind (again, a lie). Ambitiousness and industriousness are qualities that the elite (who are 90% men) wants to grant itself, and refuses to grant to those inferior to them on the social ladder. Rich people are industrious, poor people are lazy.

Men must participate in capitalist competition and therefore should be encouraged to have these qualities. Women, who should not work, should be encouraged to cultivate their conformity to the male gaze.

Apart from these three main conclusions, evolutionary psychologists draw a variety of other conclusions, including many that concern gender.

* The differences in reproductive strategies imply that men must spread their DNA as widely as possible, including by rape. This is all part of the “men can’t help themselves” tactic which is pervasive in right-wing rhetoric about rape.

If men’s reproductive strategy is to spread their DNA as widely as possible, and women’s reproductive strategy is to mate for life, then it’s women’s responsibility to keep the man from cheating. It’s also women’s responsibility to not get raped, since men can’t control themselves.

* Wife-killing is a natural reaction to the possibility of being cuckolded. The theory here is that men do not want to spend their precious resources raising a child that does not share their DNA, and that they therefore kill spouses suspected of cheating. Well, I think that one’s not too hard to understand given the vast differences in sentences between husbands who beat or kill their wives and wives who defend themselves.

The main use of this principle, I think, is to argue that women are responsible for the violence inflicted against them, and naturalize that violence; men simply can’t help themselves and will kill women who are so unwise as to arouse the jealousy of their husbands. The goal is to police women’s behavior so the husbands’ ownership of their sexuality is maintained (in reality, 77% of battered women had not committed adultery, compared to a 90% baseline, making this “module” very inefficient to say the least).

* Women prefer muscular men, men prefer small women. This is supposed to be an instinctual consequence of sexual dimorphism. Really, it’s a naturalization of women’s body issues that are really brought about by gender enforcement in the media. A muscular body is a sign of power: we therefore praise it in men but shame it in women. A small body is a sign of weakness: we therefore praise it in women but shame it in men.

***

So I think there are two important roles being fulfilled by these just-so stories. One is that they provide justification for gender-motivated acts beyond simple desire or social pressure. The equation is obvious: if an act is natural, then it’s inevitable, and if it’s inevitable then there’s no point in criticizing or fighting against it.

As P.Z. Myers points out, there are ways to turn the just-so stories of evopsychs around to fit a different gender scheme:

All right, let’s embrace this ‘reasoning’. In the stone age, women stayed in the cave or sought out tasty roots, and mashed things together to create flavorful food, while men went hunting and flung spears at things. Therefore, skill at chemistry is encoded in women’s brains, while ballistics is a natural male talent. Stone age men went on long walks to hunt game, so they’re better suited now to do field work in ecology, while women sat and did intricate weaving, therefore their brains are adapted to do data analysis.

I could do this all day, inventing pseudo-scientific evo-psych rationalizations for why particular stone age tasks shaped brains in a sex-specific manner, but at least I wouldn’t be doing it to somehow magically always fit 21st century Western cultural expectations. But I can’t, because it’s stupid… I swear, these loons are always treating men and women as separate species evolving in parallel.

There are evopsychs who are deluded enough (or claim to be deluded enough) to claim that they are left-wingers and that evolutionary psychology can provide the means to combat unethical gender-motivated behavior. Some even offer “self-help” based on helping individuals follow their twisted conception of “human nature.”

But how does evopsych provide us with the means to prevent unethical behavior? What is the end game here? If rape is natural and universal, how do we even begin to fight it, apart from enacting the SCUM Manifesto? If men are innately evil, then the only possible end game is either genetic engineering (change the male “innate nature” to something non-male) or androcide (exterminate the male “innate nature”).

Are evopsychs ready to advocate for either of these positions? I don’t think so. So how does evolutionary psychology provide solutions beyond blaming women for triggering men’s rape module? And what’s the left-wing angle? I don’t know of any left-wing or radical ideology which promotes the idea that the causes of injustice are innate; how could that possibly be left-wing or radical?

So that’s the first role. The second one is to provide a framework for understanding what gender is all about. On the radical feminist view, gender is a social construct which does not reflect biological reality: there is no direct connection between one’s behavior and one’s genitals. On the evopsych view, gender is the direct result of biology and should be treated as part of human nature.

We know what gender is all about: it’s about the subjection of women and the exploitation of women’s energies. This is what the reactionary genderist agenda is all about.

Impositionists and their problems with consent.

In this entry, I want to make some general observations about some common characteristics that impositionists seem to share. When I say “impositionists,” I am referring to people who hold to an ideology which explicitly advocates imposing harm.

Invariably they have reasons why such imposition is just or reasonable (e.g. innate evil or sinful nature, innate gender, the innate stupidity of children and other species, might makes right, etc). I do not care about these reasons, or at least not in this entry. All I will say is that only the limit cases (e.g. saving someone’s life by pulling them out of harm’s way) have been proven justified; every systemic imposition of harm in our society is blatantly unjustified. Of course they don’t really care about justification anyway: harmful power has no motive to deconstruct itself, only its victims do.

* They have major issues with consent.

My first issue is that of consent. Consent is a vitally important topic because it represents the bare minimum standard that must be met by any action for it to be non-coercive; advocates of most ideologies are keenly interested in portraying them as non-coercive for the same general reason as advocates of some pseudo-science want to portray it as scientific: being explicitly unscientific or coercive is considered bad form in this day and age.

So again let me list the criteria for consent to be present. First, the obvious:

1. There must be a clear signal of approval of the action.

This is merely a slight extension of the standard definition. And now, for the corollaries:

2. If there is no signal that one or the other party would accept as a refusal (no alternative), then there can be no signal of approval either, and no consent.
3. A signal of agreement given where there is a credible alternative, but said alternative is not viable due to pre-existing conditions, is as invalid as one given without actual alternatives.
4. Any signal of agreement given under a threat of force is the product of duress, not approval, and is therefore not consent.
5. In a situation where one of the parties cannot communicate, there can be no consent.
6. If the signal of agreement cannot be given prospectively (i.e. to the action itself), then there is no possibility of consent for that action.

I would say that all impositionist ideologies break at least one of these principles. Before I get into examples, I do want to point out that probably all these ideologies fall into most categories I’ve listed, and when I say that a given ideology breaks a particular point, I am not by any means implying that there’s nothing else wrong with its attitude towards consent.

***

* Most religions heavily rely on childhood indoctrination in order to propagate. This breaks point 3, as childhood indoctrination is most definitely a “pre-existing condition” that makes alternatives (to belief in the religion one was raised in) non-viable. A person cannot be meaningfully said to consent to anything that they’ve been indoctrinated to believe (e.g. we don’t say a cult member consented to the hardships of being in a cult, such as false imprisonment or human trafficking).

The religious call it “freedom of religion.” They are incapable of explaining how being indoctrinated and peer pressured into a religion which keeps you in by threatening eternal torment has anything to do with “freedom.”

* Genderism is similar to religion in that it’s indoctrinated from the youngest age, and therefore there cannot be any freedom to live without some conception of gender, gender hierarchy and gender roles (which are all the same thing). It’s equally meaningless to say that the performance of gender is consensual, in any form.

* Statism always assumes that anyone born within a nation’s borders “implicitly consents” to whatever the State makes into law. As a citizen, you simply have no means to signal disagreement with the law, breaking point 2 (prejudice against prisoners would also enter into this).

Yes, I know, the standard argument is that voting is the signal of agreement. But that’s not really true, is it? Otherwise non-voters could veto any law applied to them, which obviously does not happen.

Another argument is that staying in a country is the signal of agreement to the laws of that country. But we don’t use this “go away if you don’t like the rules” in any other context. Either way, it’s only further proof that there’s no means to signal disagreement (compare to telling a child “you can’t get beaten by your dad if you just run away!”).

Related to statism is imperialism and neo-liberalism, which follow the same general pattern, except applied to other countries. You will be liberated whether you like it or not; consent is always assumed.

* Capitalism relies on pre-existing conditions for its docile workforce (poverty, expensive education, creation of artificial unemployment, need for medical insurance in the US). It is therefore part of point 3. The conditions that make capitalism possible (property rights, money system, corporatism) are set by States, so what I’ve said for statism applies here as well.

The usual sort of reply you get to capitalist consent issues is that no one has to take any specific job. That may be so, but it doesn’t provide an alternative to capitalism. Faced with the massive inequality, environmental destruction, human rights violations, objectification, servility and conformity inherent in capitalism, it’s natural to want alternatives. People do not naturally want to work for other people’s profit margin or to have no control over what they produce.

* As a way of often dealing with having limited possibilities (or no possibilities, in the case of trafficked women) within the capitalist system and often as a result of parental abuse ingrained in the personality, prostitution is also part of point 3.

* Natalism, insofar as it assumes consent to being born where consent cannot be obtained, breaks point 5. The usual natalist answer is that we should assume implicit consent because it’s necessary in order for them to experience the pleasures of being alive (compare with: brown people implicitly consent to us “liberating” them and will be happy later, after we’re done killing them).

But mostly natalists just don’t care about consent, because they assume that the impossibility of consent is a carte blanche to do anything you want, which is absolutely illogical and delusional. Impossibility of consent basically means you are not allowed to do anything, because consent is, again, the absolute bare minimum criterion.

* Pornography and BDSM both fall under point 6: they both pretend to be concerned with consent and contracts, but only prospectively, which means that there can be no agreement on specific acts.

Advocates would, I suppose, argue that a contract is enough agreement to signal consent to any act that’s part of it. But if you sign a contract to perform a series of acts, and then no longer wish to perform one of the acts but are coerced or intimidated into performing it, that’s rape pure and simple. No contract can contradict this fact.

* Misopedia and carnism, two ideologies which posit a hierarchy where children/other species occupy the bottom rung, both partake of point 1, because they just don’t care if children or other species consent. The “lower intelligence” argument supposedly justifies exploiting children and other species. Guess who gets to define intelligence? Adult humans, of course. Surprise, surprise.

When you do point out to misopedists and carnists that they are simply ignoring consent issues, they will use the “lower intelligence” argument to posit that children/other species cannot consent, therefore justifying coercion against them. Again, this is logical nonsense.

***

I cannot think of a single ideology which explicitly creates harm and does not also attack consent in some way. This is not too surprising, as they are also all hierarchies, hierarchies set people apart as superiors and inferiors, and inferiors cannot have the same freedoms as their superiors; a child cannot have the same freedom as a parent, a cow cannot have the same freedom as a human, a sub cannot have the same freedom as a dom, a worker cannot have the same freedom as a boss. There must be some imposition, and that imposition cannot be consensual (the superior-inferior relation is based on obedience backed by power, not consent), for a hierarchy to be maintained.

Note that you could do this same analysis with the term “scientific” and show how various pseudo-sciences line up.

What is the perspective on consent from their perspective? One credible model was made by Tom W. Bell and is called the “scale of consent”:

Now, from a rational standpoint, only the very first item on this scale- “negociated exchange”- is actually a form of consent (“standardized exchange” implies giving consent prospectively, which breaks point 5), so the idea that the top half represents different forms of consent is complete bullshit. “Negociated exchange” is basically consent, the rest of the top half represents all the non-consent that impositionists claim as consent.

If we look at this scale, not as any sort of truth, but as a tool to help us understand how impositionists think, then I think this scale can be used as a complement to my list of points. It’s basically a chart version of the impositionist’s rationalization playbook.

For example, consider “custom” as signal of consent. That is an exact description of cultural relativism and how it provides support for customs such as female genital mutilation, suttee, foot-binding and prostitution, to name only those. It is assumed that because it’s “their/our culture,” that the issue of consent is automatically resolved.

Granted, proponents of cultural relativism would not state outright that they think there can be no consent issues. Rather, they would say that we, as outsiders, have no grounds to criticize the practice, but this really amounts to the same thing; we are after all talking about harmful, non-consensual practices, and therefore suppressing criticism about them is the same thing as evacuating consent issues.

The concepts of “standardized exchange” and “consent per past agreements” are often used to justify rape, especially spousal rape. Marriage is supposedly a contract which grants mutual sexual ownership, and therefore spousal rape is seen as just sex. It’s also often argued that past interactions justify sexual demands (you made out with me, so you should let me fuck you).

Likewise, “hypothetical consent” is reflected in many different areas. Take the natalist justification “the vast majority of people are happy, therefore anyone would want to be born.” That’s purely hypothetical, since there’s no way to gauge a state of non-existence: anyone who is happy also exists, and has vested interests in being optimistic. It does not mean that e.g. a hypothetical person in Rawls’ Original Position would always want to come into existence. In fact, it seems more likely (from the antinatalist perspective) that a fully informed person in such a position would decline existence.

* They refuse to quantify the risk of harm.

Impositionists have to ignore the harm their ideology causes because that would mean they are cheering for the perpetrators, not the victims, which is why they have to claim victimhood in any way possible. Statists build up the big bad leftists and Anarchists as their persecutors, capitalists scream about the “entitlement” of poor people, the religious demonize anyone who stands in the way of their pseudo-moral agenda, parents claim to be slaves to their children, and so on.

Related to this fundamental dishonesty is the fact that impositionists refuse to quantify the risk they are willing to impose on others. For instance, I asked anti-abortion and pro-choice advocates to quantify the risk they bring about, and very few even tried. Of course they cannot, for doing so means no longer ignoring the harm their ideology causes.

I admit that asking such a question puts the person between a rock and a hard place: who wants to say they want such and such number of children to die as a result of their cause? But if you have this problem, why do you believe in an ideology that entails the death of children in the first place? Shouldn’t that make you think?

The quantification of risk can, and should, be asked for all ideologies which promote harm. For instance, here’s one that has been asked about pornography:

And a serious question for porn users in general: what’s the maximum percentage of risk you’re willing to accept that the scene you’re getting off to has a performer who was coerced into participating, who couldn’t consent to participating, who was forced to perform acts she was uncomfortable with or explicitly barred, who didn’t consent to the distribution of the material? Give me a number.

But we can make similar questions for everything else, too. In all cases, what we’re trying to find out is: what’s the point where the implementation or fulfillment of the ideology entails just too much harm? And most importantly, how do we determine that point?

That would be the start of any real discussion on the ethicality of harm and risk. But impositionists will not, and probably cannot, have such discussions (feel free to prove me wrong!).

* They treat people as means to an end.

This can be deduced easily from what I’ve said so far. Impositionists see other people, especially their inferiors, as resources to be controlled (non-consensually) by a hierarchy to achieve some level of control over society. Impositionists see harming other people as a tradeoff, that it’s okay to do so in the name of some higher goal, which is really some level of control over society. All of that is very anti-freedom, anti-individual and anti-human.

If there is any ethical principle that should be obvious, clear and basic, it is that we should not treat other human beings as means to an end. It is the most basic form of egalitarianism that one could conceive.

* They all fail the Chomsky Principle.

I’ve discussed before what I call the Chomsky Principle, that we should in principle reject any hierarchical relation or structure unless it’s proven to be justified in some way.

[T]he basic principle I would like to see communicated to people is the idea that every form of authority and domination and hierarchy, every authoritarian structure, has to prove that it’s justified- it has no prior justification. For instance, when you stop your five-year-old kid from trying to cross the street, that’s an authoritarian situation: it’s got to be justified. Well, in that case, I think you can give a justification. But the burden of proof for any exercise of authority is always on the person exercising it- invariably. And when you look, most of the time these authority structures have no justification: they have no moral justification, they have no justification in the interests of the person lower in the hierarchy, or in the interests of other people, or the environment, or the future, or the society, or anything else- they’re just there in order to preserve certain structures of power and domination, and the people at the top.

Noam Chomsky, Understanding Power

The dismissal of anti-pornography advocates as being “just offended.”

There is a sort of simple narrative propagated about anti-pornography advocates which states that they fight against pornography because they’ve been offended by some pornography they’ve seen in the past. And now they want to impose censorship on the rest of society just because they are offended. Well, that just sounds so silly and selfish, doesn’t it?

If you’ve followed my blog, then you know that’s a lie. No reasoning I’ve presented against pornography has anything to do with being offended about anything. I have yet to hear from any radfem that their reason for fighting against pornography is because they’re offended (although some pornography should rightly offend them, as it should offend anyone who doesn’t hate women). It’s a pathetic strawwomyn.

Here’s an instance of such strawwomyn, from a so-called “Anarchist Defense of Pornography” (what an oxymoron):

Just because I like porn doesn’t mean that you should. But, if one finds something offensive, they should simply avoid it, and thereby avoid the offense. However anti-porners are not content with this strategy when it comes to porn. They feel that if it offends them, it must offend others, primarily women, and they take it upon themselves to protect others from it.

So there seems to be a major issue here with the notion of something being “offensive.” This whole argument thrown about, that you should simply avoid things you find offensive and that somehow magically solves the problem, is inherently subjectivist; it portrays “offensiveness” as being solely a product of personal evaluation, and chides people who fight against it, basically demanding that they shut up and keep their eyes down.

If that’s all “offensiveness” was, a personal evaluation like how good chocolate ice cream is or what is the best movie ever made, then that might be a valid point. After all, I don’t think people should be “protected” from believing that The Dark Knight is the best movie ever made or from thinking that vanilla ice cream is superior to chocolate ice cream. I still don’t think that’s a good reason to tell people to shut up and “simply avoid” any discussion on these topics: after all, isn’t people debating stupid topics an integral part of the Internet?

But the problem is that “offensiveness” is not subjective, at least not in this particular discussion. When radfem say that pornography is “offensive,” they mean very specific, observable facts about it: that it harms women, that it reproduces hierarchies, and that is a threat against women, amongst other things.

Offensive things aren’t offensive merely because they hurt feelings – they’re offensive because they contribute to the societal harm of marginalized groups. The end goal isn’t to get everyone to love each other, it’s to destroy power imbalances.

Talking about hierarchies, I am picking specifically on these Anarchists because they should know better (although Anarchist groups, like most leftist movements, tend to ignore feminism and belittle women because they are macho movements at their core). Anarchism, being against hierarchies, should not be associated with what is the biggest and most profitable reproduction of misogyny, racism, verbal and physical abuse against women, and the defining of sex as a power relation.

These people are fools of the highest degree. I mean, an Anarchist in defense of pornography is like an environmentalist in defense of Monsanto. They deserve all the criticism I give them and more, and so does any other Anarchist who thinks this shit flies.

They betray their political error in the following statement:

Pornography is simply a depiction, in words or pictures, of sexual activity.

No, pornography is the product of a mass (capitalist, for-profit) production of representations of what is supposed, assumed, to be sexual activity. Pornography is a multi-billion dollar industry around the world (according to some numbers, around 3 billion dollars), so we’re not talking about people taping themselves in the bedroom for their own entertainment purposes, okay?

It is not “simply a depiction,” it is a mass production, a capitalist production, subject to capitalist principles. Like any other successful industry, it exists to generate obscene profits by exploiting workers and consumers whenever possible: by making an addictive product, by treating workers as disposable resources, by lowering safety standards (in what other industry is it considered normal to contract STDs and HIV?). This is capitalism as usual, so it should not be surprising: but anyone who is anti-capitalist has no grounds to defend it.

Right, so back to “offensiveness.” When I say something offends me, I don’t mean it in the sense of “this hurts my feelings.” It’s very, very difficult to hurt my feelings, and most personal attacks make me laugh or think rather than offend me. When I say I find something offensive, I mean “this is a very harmful thing.” I am talking about something observable and verifiable.

Men as a class are not harmed by pornography, so they can’t understand how anyone would be. Therefore they think any discussion of the “offensiveness” of pornography must be about hurt feelings, about subjectivity.

But when I read this quote and the underlying thinking behind it, it seems to me that this plays into the dichotomy of men being “rational” and women being “emotional.” According to this “argument,” men argue and try to resolve issues by talking, while women are hysterical and get offended at the drop of a hat, which motivates their political positions. Not only that, but anti-pornography advocates irrationally believe that their feelings must apply to everyone else, because that’s just how women are, always trying to make their feelings matter as much as “rationality” (the belief that “political correctness,” feminism, anti-rape and anti-pornography are all about soothing women’s hurt feelings).

It’s not an argument, it’s an insult. But because woman-hating is so mainstream, we actually see it as a serious argument. Thinking about it reveals how vacuous the accusation is, but a lot of people know too little about the pornography debate to really judge that.

We observe that the arguments for pornography revolve around vulgar individualism, that they are all about the individual. This is not seen as emotional because it’s a mainstream way of thinking and there’s no reason for anyone to notice it: it’s just what “rational” discourse is supposed to be like. We observe this, again, in the article defending pornography:

While those who rely on argument and protest to influence others to avoid porn are preferable to the censors, their ideas about people should be problematic for those with an anarchist perspective. People are free agents who make choices and decisions based on what they observe, hear, and otherwise experience, and are responsible for the outcome of these choices.

I’ve already debunked the concepts of “choice” and “agency,” and they have no place in substantive discourse. But again, because this nonsense talk is so widespread, it doesn’t seem abnormal to most people. It is therefore the perfect way to dismiss any position which one does not like.

But there is great irony in the fact that Anarchism, as an ideology, is not afraid to state the perpetrators in capitalism, imperialism, environmental disaster and racism, but these Anarchists are so deathly afraid of pointing to men as the perpetrators of pornography and instead falling back to “agency” as their alternative. Pathetic.

What would a gender-free world look like?

This entry by Burning Ax is so great and on point for this blog that I want to reproduce a large part of it verbatim.

Let me describe to you what kind of world gender abolitionists actually dream about:

When a child would be born it’s biological sex, being an actual physical reality, would be noticed but not a single assumption regarding the child’s personality would be made based on it.

Growing up, children would be free to chose what toys and clothes they prefer. If they want to play with toy trucks or dolls, it would be fine either way. If they want to dress comfortably or in frilly colorful dresses, it would be fine. Regardless of the child’s biological sex.

Certain personality traits would not be encouraged in members of one sex and discouraged in the other. Females would be free to be strong, brave and assertive and males would not be shamed for being shy and soft spoken.

No female child would be called a tomboy and no male child would be called a sissy. No kid would ever be bullied for what we in our gendered world call “gender expression”.

When children would reach puberty they would still be free to dress how they want. Females would not be pressured to wear clothes that reveal their bodies and males would not be shamed if they chose to. Everybody would have a free choice of accessories, which would not be categorized as “men’s” or “women’s” but people could should whichever they liked. Or chose to not wear accessories at all if that’s what they are more comfortable with.

Females would not be pressured to keep their bodies slim, soft and hairless. Males would not be pressured to be athletic and muscular. Expectations of femininity and masculinity upon the body would not exist and affect negatively people’s relationship with their own body.

Everyone could choose a career without fearing stigmatization within that particular field because of their biological sex. The most important thing would be competence and not what someone has between their legs.

Domestic work would not be considered “women’s work” and would be shared equally between the sexes.

Biological sex would only be thought about when relevant. Like for example in regards to issues surrounding sexual activity, reproduction or treatment of medical conditions related to a person’s biological sex.

And everyone would be free to be themselves without ever having to worry about gender expectations. Nobody would feel the need to repress certain parts of their personality and exaggerate others in order to fit into some gender role that is being forced on them.

This is somewhat simplified but this is what gender abolitionists fight for when we fight for a gender-free world. Not some oppressive dictatorship were diversity is forbidden.

This is the manifesto of anti-genderism right there. This is what it’s all about. Thank you Burning Ax for such a great entry.

The pro-pornography and pro-BDSM positions are fundamentally selfish.


From Dinosaur Comics.

I think the proposition I give in the title of this entry may seem counter-intuitive; anyone interested in these debates has been bombarded by entitlement propaganda from the pro side, which posits that men have a right to, and are entitled to, female sexuality. Starting from this premise, I agree that the notion that the pro-prostitution and pro-BDSM positions are selfish does not make much sense (how can it be selfish to demand something that you are entitled to?). But I reject male entitlement to sex, and if we do go beyond that flimsy rationalization, I think the selfish nature of these positions is obvious.

I think that actions which benefit the self and hurt others would be labeled selfish by everyone (except Objectivists, but their own pro-capitalist ideology belies that). So however else selfishness may be defined, we can posit that selfish people are fine with running roughshod over others in the satisfaction of their needs.

Before even looking at how pro-pornography advocates defend their position, we can define the fundamental issue as this: in order to support pornography as an institution, you must first believe that your orgasms are more important than the widespread physical and mental abuse of women in pornography, the use of prostitutes and trafficked women to produce pornography, the creeping invasion of pornographic images and poses into mainstream media, and the threat to all women that pornography represents.

So I think we can all agree that, a priori, being pro-pornography is a very selfish position. But what about the advocates’ replies?

First, they try to argue that all these harms cannot possibly exist because “porn is not real” or “it’s just fantasy.” I could facetiously argue that they are out of their minds and can no longer differentiate between real life and fantasy, but I doubt that’s actually the case. I’m more inclined to believe that they are simply lying. Of course pornography is real, it’s made by real people in real circumstances and the sexual acts really are performed. To seriously argue otherwise is a complete psychotic break and requires treatment, not debate.

Sex-positive advocates will usually talk about how important healthy orgasms are, but pornography is not necessary for orgasms in the first place, so it’s really a red herring. The fact that a couple may sit down and watch pornography as a way to spark their sex life doesn’t mean they need pornography to have sex. And pornography, as I’ve pointed out before, is a very poor way of learning about sex. And even if the argument was valid and not a lie, it’s still selfish to think that the harms of pornography are compensated by your orgasm.

Another popular argument is the free speech argument. Besides its logical invalidity, what does it say about you that whatever you’re defending is so harmful to society that the only argument you have is that you have the right to defend it? Anyone has the right to be a woman-hating little shit, but how does that justify woman-hating? That seems to me like a rather childish and selfish attitude to have.

It rather reminds me of choice-talk. People throw the word “choice” around as a way to reduce everything to the individual. When they use it about themselves, they are basically saying “you can’t criticize me!”. To take one random example:

“I am an adult and if I choose to watch pornography, violence etc. then it is my own business.”

Really implies:

“I am an adult and if I choose to watch pornography, violence etc. then you are not allowed to criticize it. You may criticize children all you want, but I am an adult and all my choices are just as valid as yours.”

So there is an element of misopedia in this comment (obviously children don’t have rights and their “choices” cannot be valid without adult approval), but most importantly the individual demands that eir values have primacy over everyone else’s. Because there is criticism of pornography from a radical perspective and that criticism deserves as much consideration as the individual’s “choice.” To say otherwise is to refuse to live in society, but there lies the rhetoric of the sociopath, who, like the consumer of pornography, desperately does not want you to confront what he does.

If you read this blog, you know that I have repeatedly exposed the lies and misrepresentations of the most visible “feminist” pro-pornography advocate, Wendy McElroy (see 1, 2). Her defense of pornography is a mishmash of lies (e.g. radfems think women who look at pornography are “damaged” and regressed to a childlike state, pornography is sexually informative) and ignorance (e.g. she cannot use the term “objectification” correctly, she only discusses pornography with privileged and successful white pornographic actresses). Reading her defense, one gets the impression of a person who wants to sound like the voice of reason, but rejects anyone who is not like herself or who has different issues.

How often, in the pro-pornography discourse, do you hear anything about human rights, about equality, about the harm done? The reason is obvious: no human right, no egalitarian principle would be broken by banning pornography, and no harm is being resolved by pornography. They have no argument there, so they have no choice but to fall back to the same “free speech” and “it’s not real, it’s not real” rhetoric.

With BDSM, we have a similar situation, in that the person’s orgasm remains paramount. BDSMers must, a priori, believe that their orgasm is more important than the fact that they are reproducing physical and verbal abuse, sexual assault, torture, rape, and slavery, participating in a sexual institution which normalizes and justifies these activities, equating sexuality with oppressive hierarchies (and labeling non-hierarchical sex “vanilla sex,” on the premise that sexuality that is egalitarian and respectful of consent is inherently uninteresting and flavorless), and threatening abused women.

When I first commented on BDSM, I pointed out that, like with the pro-pornography advocates, the main argument used to address these charges is that BDSM is “not really” physical and verbal abuse, sexual assault, torture, etc. In order to make the point, they use weasel terms like “consensual non-consent,” “dubious consent,” “meta-consent,” “long-term consent.” None of these terms are actually forms of consent, but rather ways of calling various forms of non-consent “consent.”

I do feel like this point will be misunderstood, so I want to expand on it a bit. I have defined consent quite a bit on this blog, but basically to consent means to agree to participate to, or allow, if one is not directly involved, a certain course of action. All these BDSM terms entail that by agreeing to something that will happen in the future, agreeing when one is forced to agree, or by agreeing to actions which are undefined, one is agreeing to those future, coerced or undefined actions.

But this is logical nonsense. The only way to consent (agree to an action) is to agree to the action at the time of the action. Anything else is coercive; if consent really existed at the time of the action, then you wouldn’t need any long-term or contractual agreement in the first place. Sexual acts which are not consensual are actually really acts of sexual assault or rape.

Not only is it rape when agreement is not obtained at the time of the act, but even when there is no agreement at all, the assumed validity of BDSM as a sexual practice helps rapists get out of rape accusations (“we were practicing rapeplay, honest!”). Abusive forms of BDSM sex are, in practice, indistinguishable from other forms of abuse (how can we tell if there was an pre-existing agreement two days or two years ago?).

There is a “not all BDSMers” argument, just like there’s a “there is feminist porn too” argument. Both arguments are misguided, since the radfem position is not that all BDSMers are rapists or that all pornography is abusive, but rather that pornography and BDSM as institutions further the cause of woman-hatred and patriarchal ideals. Sadly, in defense of their sexuality, BDSMers are not ashamed to tell people about their sexual activities without their consent (not surprising, given how little they value consent) as if this was a normal thing to do (an activity which some in the anti-kink community call kink-creep).

Same problem with the argument that BDSMers only do it between themselves and thus cannot hurt anyone else. Apart from the fact that such arguments marginalize survivors of BDSM abuse, they obscure the fact that radfem arguments are not concerned with what people do in their own bedroom but with systems of oppression. BDSM as an institution is more than just people having sex: it’s a system of thought about sexual relations and “consent,” a reframing of sex as hierarchy and an us v them ideology where everyone who does not practice hierarchical sex is “vanilla” and has not discovered their personal kink.

As you can see, I’ve highlighted a number of areas where both positions are very similar. But the fundamental similarity, I think, is that advocates of pornography and BDSM are both conditioned by their orgasms (in the case of BDSM, often on purpose; in the case of pornography, involuntarily). If you keep getting orgasms in a specific physical or mental way, then eventually your orgasms will be connected to that way.

Let’s take porn for example: “John” enjoys pornography that includes group sex, so he seeks out this type of stimulus when he masturbates. Every time he orgasms to stimuli (visual or fantasy) of group sex, “John”’s brain forms an association between the stimuli and orgasm. And the more he pairs his orgasm to group sex, the stronger the association. Now, this doesn’t mean that simply seeing or thinking about group sex will cause “John” to orgasm, but it will start the arousal process. And more importantly, “John” might find that it takes longer to become aroused or to achieve orgasm to other types of sexual stimuli. He may even have to fantasize about group sex when he’s being intimate with his partner in order to orgasm.

If women’s oppression is the only way for you to get an orgasm, then you have a huge incentive to defend women’s oppression. Addicts will defend their right to have their drug of choice at any costs. And a lot of women are hoodwinked by the lie that it is normal for men to need pornography to orgasm, or the lie that women need to get into BDSM to have interesting sex lives (e.g. Fifty Shades of Grey, which is a manual for “forced seduction”).

Under the guise of tolerance and openness, pro-pornography and pro-BDSM advocates peddle the same old patriarchal bullshit. To paraphrase a famous quote, pornography and BDSM are the theory, rape is the practice.

I love when pro-porn people criticize radical feminists for their vague pragmatic agreement with conservatives but don’t seem to realize their much greater agreement with a massive legion of rapists.

[P]orn teaches the same things as rape.

“The abolition of gender will never happen!”

It always makes me laugh when people accuse me of holding to unrealistic positions or of not accepting the more pragmatic solution. When have I ever even shown an inkling of desire to be pragmatic or conciliating? When have I ever refused to follow the truth? Pragmatism is the watchword of people who refuse to think.

That being said, I do want to examine the objections of people who argue that gender abolitionism cannot “work,” mainly because their arguments are similar to those used against the abolition of other institutions or social constructs, like religion, class or hierarchies in general. Therefore I think this issue goes to the core of what radicalism is all about.

1. Gender is innate.

I’ve already discussed this quite a bit, so I won’t spend a whole lot of space on this one, but it is a common response applied to any social construct. The first line of defense that will form around any social hierarchy is pseudo-science which endeavors to “prove” that it is “a fact of nature.”

So you get early anthropologists telling us that centralized power and religion are marks of “civilization,” phrenologists showing us the “criminal head,” and sociobiologists “discovering” that gender is a biological fact. Actual science never confirms these “discoveries,” but that never gets in the way of their supporters.

Even if gender actually was innate, it’s unclear how that would mean gender cannot be censored to some extent. After all, we all agree that the desire for sex is innate, but there are people who voluntarily choose a life of abstinence, and most of us do not have sex on a constant basis. We also agree that man is a social animal, but there are people who live without human contact.

So while gender being innate would make it impossible to eliminate it, it wouldn’t mean that gender cannot be mitigated.

2. Gender is so ingrained in the fabric of society that it cannot be eliminated.

I’m sure people said the same thing about slavery, too. Granted, we still haven’t eliminated slavery, but at least it’s illegal and marginalized everywhere, which is more than I can say for genderist brainwashing. Even if gender could not be eliminated, I’d settle for “genderism is now illegal and marginalized in all countries, and its proponents are considered the scum of the Earth.” How would that not be a victory?

Any hierarchy as major as gender will be integrated within all levels of society and will look intractable. And yet we fight against them because of their destructive effects on society and the world. Capitalism is a major enemy of human life, so we oppose it even if eliminating it looks impossible from our perspective. Gender may be the oldest hierarchy in human history, but its destructive effects means we must oppose it regardless of pragmatic considerations.

3. Gender can be abolished, but the results would be catastrophic.

Traditionalists love to turn into doomsayers when the issue of advancing any social issue turns up. The standard traditional genderist storyline about abolishing gender is this: feminism leads to gender equality, and gender equality leads to the destruction of the family structure, which is the foundation of civilization, so that would end Western civilization as we know it. Cue the explosions.

The masculine and feminine roles, clearly defined above, are not merely a result of custom or tradition, but are of divine origin…

Nothing is more important than a boy becoming a masculine man and a girl becoming a feminine woman.

Helen Andelin, Fascinating Womanhood

Since feminism was mottled together out of a deep disdain for God’s perfectly created order for men and women, it fueled the desire to rebel against the foundations of family. Therefore, the erosive movement was able to gain intense momentum as it was paired perfectly with a societal shift. Our nation became less concerned with foundations, more influenced by European Marxism, and sought out the Babylonian cry for feminism among women, and later brought along men, who all reject God. Suddenly, the use of the once sacred mortar of our foundations of God, Constitution and iron-clad families of strength, were abandoned to pursue anti-godly endeavors and selfishly built altars of sin.

It was inevitable by this point, that this movement would begin the most corrosive of all forces to weaken the fortress of family, and bring down the entire societal house of cards; from the inside out.

Granted, I’ve picked some of the most extreme examples: I think most traditional genderists believe that feminism and gender equality are deleterious but not fatal, and probably don’t attribute every single detail of our gender roles to God itself.

The basic principle remains the same: whenever some construct is threatened, they use fear to try to keep people in line (does it ever work?). I’ve referred to this a couple times on this blog as the Argument from Armageddon: if belief in X disappears, then society as we know it will collapse.

4. Gender can be abolished, but it would destroy individuality.

Independent Radical reminded me of this one in the comments. There seems to be this weird belief that the end point of feminism is some androgynous dystopia where everyone looks and acts the same. I first ran into this argument in One Life at a Time, Please, by Edward Abbey, where he states that the future of society under feminism is one of “unisexual, interchangeable, replaceable units of desexed semihumanity.” His argument is ridiculously simple: feminists want women to be more like men, therefore their ultimate goal is to homogenize everyone.

But this argument is completely backwards. It is gender that homogenizes people and suppresses individuality. How could eliminating gender, and having a population of individuals free to dress and act however they want, create more homogenization? Although I see nothing wrong with androgyny as a concept or a strategy, I see very little merit to that argument.

5. Abolishing gender is bigoted because it would go against people’s self-identification.

Again, I will not take a lot of time on this point because I’ve already argued that we don’t have a right to self-identify.

But I will go even farther and say that if self-identification hurts people, as it does in the case of genderism, then it must be attacked. Genderism hurts women on a worldwide scale and is used to justify attacking their bodies and human rights. Identification with gender serves to support its power to hurt women, whether the people who identify with it want to do so or not.

How we reward abusers and demonize victims.

It seems that humans will go through any sort of ideological contortion to explain away inconvenient events. I have already written about how people who support violent ideologies portray themselves as the real victims. I’ve also discussed how victims get gaslighted, trivialized, and so on. I want to continue along those lines in this entry.

First, there is the phenomenon that I’ll call “enforced subjectivity.” For instance, we are told that rape statistics are inflated and that we should not count any instance where a woman does not call what happened to her “rape,” because she’d know better. But an instance of rape is an instance of rape regardless of whether the victim calls it rape or not. This is just subjectivism plain and simple. I mean you can see how incredibly stupid this derailing tactic is if you just ask yourself: instead of asking the victim if it was rape, why not ask the perpetrator?

There are many reasons why a rape victim might not call it rape. For one thing, most rapes do not resemble the narrative we’ve been given of a stranger assaulting women in a dark alley or in a park. Most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by dates, sexual partners and family members. Also, many victims do not want to attract the ire of their family and friends by outing a common friend or family member as a rapist. They may also believe that the rape was their fault and therefore not “really rape,” because that’s what we believe about rape victims.

All rape statistics are automatically suspect and their criteria of what constitutes rape should be carefully examined. Subjectivist arguments must be rejected out of hand.

Gender is another area where subjectivity runs rampant, thanks to trans genderism. We are told that individuals are whatever gender they claim to be, but we are also told that anyone who does not actively seek to change their body actually really want to be the gender they were assigned (“cis”). In practice, this amounts to: people’s beliefs and desires are the only thing that matters unless you are not compliant with gender rules about presentation, in which case your beliefs or desires are irrelevant. This is why trans advocacy pushes the oppression of gender rebelling children and homosexuals (especially butch lesbians, which they seek to erase entirely).

Just so I don’t pick only on trans genderists, I will also point out that Christians, who are for the most part traditional genderists, posit that God is male without any biology whatsoever. What does that say about their idea of gender? Well, it shows us that they think authority is a male attribute, even in a being that has no organs or even, you know, a material body. This is not directly subjectivist but, like all Christian premises, goes back to divine subjectivism.

In reality, gender is a social construct legally assigned at birth and which usually does not change throughout your life. This assignment is arbitrary and, while ostensibly based on sex, has nothing to do with sex. There is no logical or biological connection between a person’s sexual organs and their supposedly preferred toys, clothes, games, ways of moving, sexuality, sports or jobs. Genderism, whether traditional or trans, is based on equating a social construct with a biological reality, and hoping their claim has such a degree of support that no one will question it. In that way, it is very much like a religion.

Another area I want to mention is child abuse, of which genderism is an important part but not the whole by far. The subjectivism in child abuse is in the fact that we refuse to identify assaults against children as child abuse. We even have an entire branch of science, psychoanalysis, dedicated to reframing child abuse (thanks to Freud’s cowardice in backing down from exposing the abuse which was, and still is, prevalent).

The support of child abuse is easy to explain by the fact that we hate children. But the erasure of child abuse enacted by the whole society was, until recently, so profound as to eclipse any other. Only recently have we started, only started, to acknowledge that physical and sexual assault against children may be a bad thing (verbal assault and removal of a child’s rights are still considered perfectly normal, unfortunately).

It should not be surprising that child abuse is targeted for the highest level of erasure. After all, children are the most vulnerable members of society, and parents have the most relative power in any relation in any society. Therefore (in accordance with the principle of self-victimhood) it has always been especially crucial that parents portray themselves as the victims and their children as the aggressors. So you get the children-are-innately-evil, toddler-as-seducer, children-as-gullible, teenagers-as-stupid child-hatred party line (and they then turn around and accuse antinatalists of child-hatred, because like all crackpots they desperately need to project).

This leads me to the more general topic of assault by authority figures, most notably cops and soldiers. Whenever an authority figure beats up or kills an innocent civilian, people will be prompt in speaking up in support of the authority figures and in demonizing the victims: in fact, it seems that the more horrifying the event was, the more vicious the attacks against the victims become.

I have already commented on this bizarre phenomenon and given my explanation. The subject is very much related to child abuse. Most of us are victims of child abuse as we grow up, and we grow up internalizing the anger poured against us as being normal. So we turn around and express our anger when someone is, like us, mistreated by an authority figure. The cop or soldier takes the place of the parents, and the victims become substitutes for ourselves, which we are free to hate as much as our parents hated us. For more explanation on this repression and projection mechanism, read Alice Miller‘s work. Arthur Silber, an intellectual heir of Miller (like David Mackler), wrote:

When such modes of thought are established in our psychologies, they cannot be isolated or contained. We deny our own pain — so we must deny the pain of others. If we acknowledge their pain fully and allow ourselves to realize what it means, it will necessarily call up our own wounds. But this remains intolerable and forbidden. In extreme cases, we must dehumanize other human beings: they become “the other,” the less-than-human. By using such devices, we make inflicting untold agonies on another person possible: if they are not even human, it doesn’t matter if we torture them. This is always how we create hell on earth.

Again the self-victimhood principle is applied: the authority figures are portrayed as the “victims” through the demonization of the targets of violence. The authority figure had no choice but to use violence because the targets were disobedient and must have been guilty to be targeted with violence in the first place (a circular argument if there ever was one). This is the same “reasoning” used against rape victims and child abuse victims, but with the righteousness of authority behind it (that is to say, with the authority as a parental figure which therefore can do no wrong).

Frame logic: Individuals are victimised or disadvantaged by the actions of bad, criminal, irresponsible, antisocial types. The “authorities” come to the rescue, in the form of police or other official types with police-like powers. The cops deal with the bad people and protect the good people. (There’s also a “terrorism” variant of the frame, with similar structure, but differently defined roles).

Frame inferences: The cops/authorities are essentially good; the perpetrators are bad; the victims are usually innocent. The authorities maintain order and harmony; the villains disrupt it. Order is a system; bad individuals disrupt order (note the good system / bad individuals dichotomy).

As an aside, I do want to mention that a Gallup poll taken after the Kent State murders revealed that 58% of people blamed the students for their own murder, while 11% blamed the National Guard (the actual murderers).

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