Saturday, November 21, 2015

Toward a Deeper Understanding of What Feminism Is

In an earlier article, we spoke of something called non-feminist target consensus, and why we should move toward such consensus if we would effectively move against feminism in massed  formation:

In that article, we posted a numbered list called the "Seven Points of Understanding". The list was meant to suggest a working agreement on what "feminism" really is. It was composed loosely because it was meant to channel our thoughts in a loosely calculated direction, as the first stage in a deeper convergence of understanding.

Granted, many people will never get to that deeper convergence. They will only skim through the seven points, nod their general agreement, and give no further thought to it.

So be it. We can live with that. (Have we got any choice?)

But for those who mean to go further, we offer the following as a kind of second-degree initiation. Does that sound like a plan? All right, let's converge upon it.

For a start, let's mothball the conspiracy theories. Powerful interest groups may have given feminism a leg up, but they never invented it. Most seemingly conspiratorial patterns are better explained by what I call moral confluence - the tendency for like-minded humans to form spontaneous systems of cooperation. "Birds of a feather flock together", as folk wisdom informs us, and we need no conspiracy theory to account for this. In principle, it is nothing more mysterious than two people walking side by side on the same road and falling into step with each other.

Mind you, we don't rule out bonafide conspiratorial projects in the general mix - of varying sizes, with varying actors, changing through time. But we don't saddle ourselves with over-arching conspiracy narratives, nor do we bother with smaller ones unless easy evidence makes them "too good to ignore."

Next, we should agree that feminism was never extruded into the world from start to finish as a seamless connection of ideas - it was, and is, a patchwork rife with contradictions. It did not grow from a point source, but from a range of sources: organically, holistically, morphogenetically. After that, moral confluence took over.

Feminism is more than just ideology. It is a set of practices in the objective world, and the ramifications of those practices. Effectively, feminism is a moral confluence manifested as a social superorganism. It has fuzzy boundaries, but you can map it by the light of two cardinal principles, and in order to see how feminism operates you must bear those principles in mind. Once you've got that sorted out, everything settles into place.

Firstly: feminism is the project to increase the power of women both individually and collectively, and this project is a zero sum, infinite game with no clearly stated upper limit or endpoint.

Secondly: feminism is held together and boosted along its trajectory by a bottomless disaffection toward all things male. Despite what the average feminist will tell you, feminism is very much indeed "about hating men".

These two principles illuminate each other. Furthermore, they cycle in and out of each other in a chicken-and-egg dynamic: it is not clear which comes first, so it is hard to know where to start explaining.

However, let's start with the first principle because it's easier that way. After all, nearly any feminist will give you a hairy argument if you insist that feminism is about hating men, but I doubt you'll find a feminist anywhere who would argue that feminism is not about empowering women.

So to increase the power of women, as to increase the power of anything, demands a rationale. Feminism rationalizes its project by suggesting that women need more power because they haven't got enough in the first place.

That being said, the question becomes "how much power for women is enough?" How must we quantify this? How must we configure this? If feminism can furnish no answer here, we must suppose that none can be had, and that the feminist project is to empower women infinitely.

We have seen no official statement which says "accomplish the following, and feminism will disband itself." Furthermore, if there is any such document on earth, we insist that we have no duty to hunt for it. On the contrary, we insist that feminism's supporters bear the onus to make this information clear to non-feminist men and women, in a manner that is widely known and unmistakeable. We await that day.

Very well. Feminism is literally nothing if not the project to increase the power of women. It must be this if it is anything at all, and whatever you might add to this it remains this at the very least. That is a consensus nearly all would share, a crossroad of understanding that puts everybody on the same map.

Now, to increase the power of women could only mean to grow it by comparison to some other power. After all, we can hardly quantify this if we fail to establish a baseline measurement.

So let us think further: would not the feminist project be meaningless if female power didn't grow specifically by comparison to MALE power? For if both men’s and women’s power grew by comparison to some third power, it would be undifferentiated HUMAN power which had augmented itself, yes? But in that case, the limiting term “women” would be inappropriate and misleading. Nor would the term “feminism” be applicable.

So we conclude that the core of the feminist project is to grow female power by comparison to male power in particular, and for want of contrary evidence we also conclude that this project has no proposed endpoint.

Such being given, it follows that women’s power would sooner or later surpass men’s, issuing in a state of female supremacy. Only a non-feminist intervention could block that outcome.

We may define female supremacy as a condition where the governing power in most areas of life is either directly or indirectly a female power. We are entitled to wonder if that would be a good thing, or a bad thing.

Our answer rides upon the question of moral constraint. Absolute power would be arbitrary power, and being absolute, would corrupt absolutely – meaning that no morality would constrain it. True female supremacy could be nothing short of absolute power unconstrained by morality. Anything less would only be a stage along the road to supremacy, but not quite supremacy itself.

In the final tally, any limit to the growth of female power would limit women's power to treat men arbitrarily. This in turn would be a moral constraint because arbitrary power is nothing if not the power to disregard morality. So the feminist project would stall out if it were bound by the requirement to treat men morally, and this would set a limit on how far the project could extend itself.

If one were determined to push the feminist project forward at all cost one would need either to abandon all pretense of morality, or to make oneself the master of such pretense.

In passing, we should note that feminists love to rattle on about something called "equality", yet their notion of equality, for some reason, does not involve abrogating any historical perquisites that women have enjoyed. So, putting it simply, the feminist campaign for so-called equality is a drive to maximize female advantage. This comes to the same thing as increasing female power with no limit. 

Now let us consider the second cardinal principle. The project to increase women’s power does not positively require disaffection toward men in order to get started, but without it, the project would face a practical limit. However, if you sweep that limit aside, you can pave the road of depredation as far as any lack of scruples might carry you. This is where disaffection toward men comes in handy, and the project to increase female power hits no glass ceiling of any kind.

We conclude that "feminism" minus anti-male feeling would be self-limiting, would lack vitality, and would eventually fizzle out.

Let us reiterate the two cardinal principles: that feminism is a drive to increase female power with no clearly stated endpoint, and that feminism is impelled by a bottomless disaffection toward all things male. Taken together, these principles compose a revelatory lens, and one may pan that lens across the range of conditions. You can put this to work in your own analysis.

Nowadays there is a great controversy in the activated non-feminist sector - on the one side, the strict anti-feminists who wish to engage feminism narrowly and politically, and on the other, those who say "never mind feminism, attack gynocentric traditionalism!"

However, we find it generally pointless to differentiate feminism from so-called traditionalism because we see those things on a continuum. We prefer to take a unified field approach in our quest for understanding.

Yes, we recognize that "gynocentrism" was a feature of traditional (or so-called "patriarchal") culture long before modern feminism came along. But we also see that feminism and traditional culture are like Siamese twins, with gynocentrism as a connective tissue binding them together.

Gynocentrism advantages women over men, and for that reason is fundamentally anti-male. Feminism did not invent gynocentrism, but capitalized on it as it does upon any established anti-male tendency. Anything hateful of maleness, or harmful to it, or merely tilted against it in some way, finds a place in the feminist project.

We have a saying: "Every anti-male stream feeds the feminist river." Even as the Mississippi pulls its waters from across the continent, so too feminism draws from a far-flung cultural watershed. One way or another, all of it supplements the feministical operations complex (for short, the FEMPLEX).

This metaphor of the watershed hints at the workings of feminism as a social superorganism, and puts us in a shared space of heuristic understanding. The full reach of feminism spreads well beyond any conventional understanding of the term. For that reason, the ongoing anti-male evolution in society, over time, is the signature pattern which gives away the feminist game. Plenty of social indicators are trending in an anti-male direction, and that is how we know "where it's at".

It should be clear, to all who are politically awake, that the world is becoming a more poisonous place in which to be male. We say this not in the spirit of "men's rights", but rather to spotlight a dangerous condition which ought to concern everybody. After all, injustice toward half the human race is bound to have negative consequences right way across the social ecology. 

We should add, that a lot of feminists show a pattern of moral confluence in creating, sustaining, or rationalizing these anti-male tendencies. When you point this out, a typical response is the infamous NAFALT: "Not All Feminists Are Like That."

There are many variations on the NAFALT response, yet it is unclear why any of it should be deemed a compelling argument, or what it even pretends to argue in the first place. The sentiment itself is vacuous and trite, for you may pick any kind of feminist you please and it will generally be true that "not all feminists are like that." So why do they use this line of talk so commonly?

The answer is, that they want to get feminism off the hook by changing the subject. They are deflecting attention away from the feminists who are indeed "like that"-- and the fact that such feminists really do exist, and really do play a powerful role in shaping the world.

Yes, the anti-male factor is feminism's most potent driver because it gives the feminist project a wide open frontier of development. The proverbial man-hating feminists represent feminism's core truth because, frankly, they are what makes feminism exist in the first place. They are not a bug; they are a feature. Lacking their restless energy and continual innovation, feminism would sputter and roll to a stop like a car running out of gas.

The only way to rationalize the endless growth of female power, is to gin up never-ending excuses to take away male power - and if you hate men in the first place, your innovation along that line will be morally unencumbered. Accordingly, those who raise questions about the ethical treatment of men, or about women's moral accountability in general, are death to the feminist project because they sabotage the one force which can fuel that project's growth into the indefinite future.

The NAFALT excuse ultimately fails not only because it is intellectually vacuous, but because it misses the point. For in the end, the question is not whether all feminists are a certain way, but whether all feminism is a certain way.

More precisely, all feminists - irrespective of individual difference - are implicated in the feminist project. That is what makes them feminist in the first place. Verily, all feminists are "like that" as regards their participation in feminism. This is the point which ought to command our interest.

The less repellent feminists have the option to put those discreditable ones under siege, and isolate them, and starve them of moral support. Yes, they could choose to do this, but instead they choose the opposite tack: they urge you to IGNORE such feminists, and if possible, forget about their existence altogether.

Thus, the feminist who puts you off with NAFALT rhetoric is squatting on your mental real estate by imposing a trivial distraction - and by that I mean a distraction from what is significant, essential, or urgent. This feminist would have you occupy your thoughts with matters that can only throw you off the scent. In this way, the core truths and defining operations of the feminist project will escape detection. 

In conclusion: it can be laborious to parse out the finer filaments of understanding, but the reward can be worth it. The burden, be it known, falls as much upon the writer as upon the reader. That said, I trust that any reader who has gotten to the end of this article, in the same plodding footsteps which the writer took first, has been sufficiently compensated for the journey.    

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