Ultra-rationality and framing criticism as femininity.

Stairs Pyramid Man makes another appearance (his first one was here).

The criticism of anti-feminists follows clear gendered lines. Their hatred of women leads them to paint their equally hated critics as performing femininity. Anti-feminist advocates such as conservatives, “anarcho-capitalists” and libertarians, MRAs, Objectivists and evolutionary psychologists portray themselves as ultra-rational and logical, independent and courageous thinkers, anti-emotional, having a high degree of confront.

Fundamentalist Christians and nerd culture are exceptions: Christians cannot see themselves as ultra-rational due to the openly anti-intellectual and anti-rational nature of Christianity, and nerd culture is marginalized and therefore feminized itself.

Critics are always portrayed as hysterical, over-emotional and irrational, responsible for everything that happens to them, homosexuals, desirable targets for all kinds of violence.

To sociopaths, everyone else is an Other, everyone else is feminized. Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf:

The great majority of a nation is so feminine in its character and outlook that its thought and conduct are ruled by sentiment rather than by sober reasoning. This sentiment, however, is not complex, but simple and consistent. It is not highly differentiated, but has only the negative and positive notions of love and hatred, right and wrong, truth and falsehood.

He is also reported to have said:

Do you know the audience at a circus is just like a woman. Someone who does not understand the intrinsicly feminine character of the masses will never be an effective speaker. Ask yourself: ‘What does a woman expect from a man?’ Clearness, decision, power and action.

It’s interesting to note that those masses he talks about are at least half composed of men. Likewise, anti-feminists do not mind attacking men, even when they pretend to stand for “men’s rights,” “human rights” or believe in male superiority.

I have previously analyzed three rhetorical strategies that are relevant:

* Statements of human rights and demands for fairness are reframed as “entitlement” by right-wingers.

* Protesting and objecting to the status quo is reframed as rudeness and offensiveness.

* I’ve already mentioned the misattribution of personal responsibility.

There’s also another strategy I have not written about yet (I do plan to do so at a later time), which is scapegoating. The primary characteristic of scapegoats is that no abuse against them is too great, and that there is a natural psychological tendency to escalate cruelty against them. This applies to various hated groups such as people of different religions and “races,” criminals, children, women, and critics also enter into this category.

If critics are labeled as feminine, then it behooves us to see it for what it is: the product of woman-hatred and the association of that hatred with the hatred for any form of criticism shared by these ideologies. All closed, dogmatic systems of thought must generate hatred criticism by necessity. An actually rational person does not hate criticism, but analyzes it critically (is what is said true? is there a vested interest?). The fact that they hate criticism proves that their supposed rationality and much vaunted capacity to confront are facades.

All cruel people describe themselves as paragons of frankness.
Tennessee Williams

This “ultra-rationality” manifests itself in a variety of ways:

* The reframing of their emotions as “rational” and their opponents’ emotions as “irrational.”
* The over-reliance on specific empirical data points, even when such data is insufficient or irrelevant.
* The invalidation of personal experience, even when said personal experience is credible and not used to justify any scientific statement.
* A tendency to either reject altruism altogether or to be suspicious of people’s motives to an obsessive degree.
* The assumption that human actions are, or should be, logical/rational/selfish; The reduction of humans to logic and/or Universal Reason (“man as rational animal”/homo economicus).
* The over-reliance on detecting logical fallacies (especially when no argument is being made) as a substitute for critical thinking.
* Assumption that the status quo requires no further evidence, but the demand that anything that goes against the status quo, no matter how obvious, be proven beyond doubt.
* Radicalism and constructionism are inherently suspicious and are sometimes lumped in with some vague idea of “Communism.”
* The over-reliance on “just so” stories, imaginary narratives, stories, parables, and other attempts at exploiting the imaginary.
* As an extension of the previous point, hiding subjectivity under a veneer of objectivity, and denouncing the opposition’s objectivity as subjective.
* The pretense of being high confront.
* Hiding one’s values under the guise of being “value-neutral,” “free from bias” and “just looking at the facts.” Rejecting empathy, compassion and other interpersonal considerations is called “rationality,” and of course such considerations are framed as feminine.

(perhaps the best example of ultra-rationality in the media is the show Bones, where the titular character is profoundly irrational about anything not directly related to her work but still believes she’s the smartest person in the room)

This last point really cannot be overemphasized. Consider the astonishing fact that empathy and kindness are considered to be “female traits.” What does that tell us about masculinity? And what does that tell us about ideologies which reject femininity?

I don’t think it takes a lot of thinking to realize that, if one defines oneself as being outside of, and superior to, empathy and kindness, then one is likely to be a pretty hateful person and to disguise that hatred under the guise of “rationality.”

Beyond this, empathy and suffering exist beyond reason and cannot be explained rationally, therefore the ultra-rational cannot take it into account, even if they wanted to.

The obsessional is a conformist, constantly splitting emotions off from intellectual operations, and thus presenting a kind of cold rationality or hyperrationality. This type flourishes in families and institutions that promote order for order’s sake, “Prussian” values, sexual suppression, monetary discipline, envy, and affectless intellectualism.
Elisabeth Young-Bruehl

Why use the term “ultra-rationality”? Because overemphasis on rationality, crowding out empathy, common sense and holistic (non-linear) thinking, turns rationality into an abstract, subjectivist, self-reinforcing dogma.

As has been often noted, most recently by the organization Deep Green Resistance, misogyny and anti-environmentalism go hand-in-hand: the way a society demeans women takes part in the same principle by which we disvalue children, other animals, and the land (women are routinely associated with all these things). It is therefore no wonder that ideologies which use femininity as an insult also disvalue these things as well.

2 thoughts on “Ultra-rationality and framing criticism as femininity.

  1. […] thing they have in common is ultra-rationalism, which I have previously described. The ultra-rational is characterized by the belief that one is more rational than most people, […]

  2. […] encompasses the more ultra-rational “enlightened self-interest” ideologies (as well as the more recent secular […]

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