Sunday, December 13, 2015

Worth-based Entitlement

I find no good reason to believe that women are uniquely downtrodden, or that their sufferings in life transcend the common lot of humanity. Moreover, I can see a strong case that men have it worse in many ways.

However, feminist theory maintains that women as a group are oppressed by men as a group, and specifically names women as a "political sex class". Feminist preaching for many years has openly incited women to view themselves in such terms. The last half-century has witnessed a mushrooming growth of women's advocacy groups, lobbying groups, government bureaux, and all manner of special services for women both public and private.

But it doesn't end with blind favoritism toward women. The state of matters takes a malignant turn when you consider that female citizens presently hold a disproportionate power to compromise the well-being of male citizens. As simply as we can put it, women have the power to lie about men with impunity, in a way that seriously harms them. And that power, being vested in laws and institutions, becomes a political power and makes women a political class.

To put this another way, it is not women, but MEN who are "oppressed". Oppression, as feminist theory informs us, is structural. It is rooted not in the power of individuals, but in the power of institutions made disproportionately available to some groups and not others. When the disfavored group feels the institutionally-based power of the favored group like a boot on its neck, only then may we correctly say that "oppression" is taking place. Men (not women) may be considered the oppressed group in today's world because the power of women to harm men is embodied in laws and institutions -- in other words, structurally. If we are to hold the feminists to the letter of their own law, we must insist that they acknowledge this.

What we have related here tilts the political board against men as a group. In light of this, we feel no hesitation in stating that men, as a group, have no political obligation to go to bat for women as a group. Under the circumstances, why should they? Rationally speaking, men would do best to look out for themselves as individuals and to form contracts of mutual assistance in order to multiply the benefit. No consideration, either moral or utilitarian, can inspire me with any sense of duty toward women as a group. This would be true even in the best of times, but is doubly true at present, when men are an oppressed class.

Therefore any individual woman I meet will get special consideration from me only as an individual, and only if she proves herself worthy. And clearly, some will prove themselves worthier than others. This way of thinking entails no "misogyny" because it entails no opinion, either good or ill, about women as a group.

Now, misogyny means disaffection toward women irrespectively. Hence, even if you were to form a bad opinion about every female person on earth, it would not entail misogyny if you had weighed each case on its merits. You would merely harbor a bad opinion about this woman, that woman, and the next woman -- but not about women.

I am far from having evaluated every woman on earth, and I know my life is too short to do that. So I am content to say that I harbor no opinion either good or ill about the huge majority of women, but that as I make their acquaintances I will evaluate them one at a time. Then, according to the case, I will form a social contract binding myself to specific behaviors. Upon that base alone, I will decide what, if anything, I "owe" to the individual in question. In this, I do just as I would do with any man -- I am entirely even-handed.

Yes. Characterization by merit is a first principle, and it frames my conduct toward everyone I meet. Nobody, man or woman, is "entitled" to anything save what I, by my good pleasure, bountifully proffer -- and calculation of merit weighs considerably in that dispensation. In short, I study the manifested qualities of other people in living form, and work from there.

But prudential considerations are always uppermost in my thinking, with an eye to rational self-preservation grounded in a prescience of natural consequences. My policy, then, entails a strategizing sense of  the Kantian hypothetical imperative: "If you want the world to be X, you must do Y and Z." The reason is, that if you fail to do Y and Z, then by natural consequence the world will not be X.

So in the end, although my conduct is governed purely by a moral law within myself, that moral law is framed by the considerations which I have sketched above. I should add that it never hurts to get on my good side. Deal squarely and rightly with me, and I shall be the truest friend you could ask for. Otherwise, things might get sticky.

Feminism views women as an entitled class, and fails to hold them accountable as individuals. I find this both pernicious and unworkable, and for that reason (among many others) I reject feminism as a movement and as an ideology. I disavow it. I disclaim ownership in it.  I repudiate the cultural narrative which it imposes and I wash my hands of any project predicated on any aspect of  that narrative.

Briefly then, I am not a feminist and no power in the universe will force me to become one.

Finally, no woman I shall ever meet may exercise any claim upon me in the name of feminism, or under color of feminism in any form. She is entitled to nothing unless she proves to me that she is worth something.

Such is worth-based entitlement.

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