Tuesday, January 23, 2018

On The Alt-Right or whoever the fuck we are talking about.

It occurs to me, and surely others, that I don't spend much time talking about the right wing, I don't spend any time criticizing it, and I spend much more time criticizing people who are the sworn enemies of the alt-right. So under the pretext of 'An enemy of my enemy is my friend...' I must by default be a friend of the alt-right, or male rights activists, or white supremacists or all the angry guys out there in internet land or whatever.

It's hard to write any particularly scathing critique though, of garbage people with garbage beliefs on the fringes of society who don't pose any particular threat to me, who don't have anything to offer me and have little to no relevance to my existence beyond many of the people I know having a morbid fascination with them.

However, it's not so simple, Alt-right, MRAs, White Supremacists and even conservatives do have an impact on my life... but it's not the one you might be frightened of, the old 'First they came for the Jews and I said nothing...' paradigm. They impact on my life because of algorithms. Because the most popular sites on the internet - with the non-coincidental sole exception of Wikipedia, the most popular not-for-profit site - present a polarizing world.

So yeah, if I want to watch a BBC documentary on Friedrich Nietzsche, youtube will assume I want to watch Joe Rogan interview some man on why feminists are stupid. And the thing about ignorance and search functions is: if you don't know what you don't know, then it is very hard to search your way out of an algorithm.

Thus if you want a top-tip I like my man Rumi's poorly translated into English advice 'God turns you from one feeling to another and teaches by means of opposites, so that you will have two wings to fly, not one.' which is to say, if you are feeling particularly persuaded by something, go and look for a persuasive critique of that work.

Which is not to say, that there's any validity to all the raving nobodies on Youtube, or the internet at large. Both highly polarized sides of the debate suffer from a menacing case of unchecked egalitarianism - where any fucking nobody is allowed to pick up stones and hurl them at tanks...

Or dogs... so the main reason I don't spend much time or energy hurling rocks at the alt-right is because a white man once explained to me 'You will never reach your destination if you stop and throw stones at every dog that barks.' which is apparantly not well-sourced enough to make Winston Churchill's wikiquote page, so let's take it with a grain of salt.

Let's break it down though:

1. White Supremacy

A garbage proposition, and it isn't the Rubiks-Cube of psychoanalysis to unlock that when you come across people advocated a supreme race, it is never the case that they are motivated by their inherent sense of superiority - be it North Koreans, the French, the Japanese, German Nazi's or Tiki-Torch Klansmen. They don't march because they feel powerful and entitled, but because they feel victimized and marginalized.
A consultation of the facts though will show that white people are supreme - in terms of land ownership, resource command, military power, technology and most quality of life measures. The kicker is that you may be genetically a member of the supreme ethnic group, but not actually participating in power and its benefits.
The thing is that White Supremacy movements only need watching in so far as they are processed legally with due-process. There are provisions against hate speech even in the US constitution and one cannot insight a riot etc. If you murder someone or lynch someone that's a crime and a police matter. The point at which you need to speak out and take a stand is when law-enforcement drops the baton.
The tragedy of White Supremacy and racism in general is that it takes the disenfranchised members of the oppressor's ethnicity and turn's them against their fellow oppressed to shore up the base of their oppressors.
Of far more consequence than having morons shore up the base of a moron like Donald Trump though, is having poor ignorant people shore up the economic policies of the Republican establishment. It was far worse for all but the few people murdered by recent racist attacks, when everyone in the rust belt of America was voting for George W Bush because they could picture him on a farm.

2. Male Rights

I must confess some sympathy for the tiny amount of men who find themselves on the wrong end of a histrionic personality disorder. Having someone bare false witness against you is incredibly damaging, possibly unrecoverable. But that's true of everyone under all circumstances. If you find yourself or a loved one facing a false allegation of rape or other sexual misconduct, absolutely fight it tooth and nail. I do not begrudge parents and partners defending an accused man even in the circumstances where his denials are lies - unless they are willfully complicit in believing the lies.
But that's about the limit of it. It's a serious issue if you are in it, but it pales in comparison to the incidence and frequency and systemic society wide cost of women being raped, sexually assaulted and the psychological abuse and torture that gags them.
Both are problems, and one problem is minuscule when stood beside the other. Were I put in the situation of facing a false allegation, I would absolutely disregard any pretense or appeal to 'being woke' and defend my reputation tooth and nail. If I didn't have a superstitious aversion to lying, my opinion of the justice system is sufficiently low that I wouldn't begrudge myself defending against true allegations against me.
Alas, poor men, some 60% of women in Australia have experienced some form of sexual harassment or assault by the age of 18. Good character furthermore, is not distributed normally or randomly across the population but seems to concentrate in certain individuals who exhibit masses of pro-social behavior, and the vast majority are sociable enough for society to function, but generally self-serving and inconsiderate. The relevance of that being that I don't think a few men are doing all the groping and harassment so much as if 60% of women are getting harassed, it seems likely to me that 60% of men have done some harassing. I'd probably posit that across a spectrum of harassing behavior going from 'bad judgement' to 'malicious intent' 100% of men have done some harassing.
Thus, I just don't have time for Male Rights Activism, even if there's some serious issues there, because it's competing for attention like Deaths-from-Shark-Attacks vs Deaths-from-Suicides. One is so common everyone has a stake in it, and the other so rare that though serious cannot be a priority especially given its capacity to exacerbate the more common, severe and widespread problem of women getting raped.
And yeah, it's probable that male rights go far further than just false allegations of rape. The trouble is, the systems pretty friendly to men already. Women are just as capable in my opinion of psychological abuse towards males as the reverse, however in my locale any guy can go see a psychologist. The services are there already. Even the legal system is heavily biased towards protecting the innocent from false accusations. The burden of proof is not upon the defendant. That means that literally if you rape a women and there's no evidence but her testimony against yours, if you plead not guilty the state will let you walk, it may even not bring a case against you at all.
So what the fuck is the proposed solution of MRA's that women be prevented from testifying? from speaking? It's garbage through and through.
I'm comfortable with the risk that one day I myself may have a false allegation leveled against me. The plan is to protect myself by not raping any women, and if possible avoiding the company of histrionic women. Even so, I have confidence I can avoid an accusation by a criminal mastermind that can falsify means, motif and opportunity. That can simulate the injuries of rape and get my dna under-their-fingernails etc. Then even exonerated, my reputation will probably have taken irreversible damage at which point I will eat shit and move towns, country whatever. Lemons > Lemonade.

3. Climate Skepticism

Yeah it's anti-science, anti-intellectual whatever. One day, whoever added grist for the public wanting to bury their heads in the sand over climate change will probably be held culpable. In the meantime, the ocean is going to expand, the weather will get more extreme and severe and the necessary solutions, if there are solutions at all will get more costly.
I just don't think the climate change denial mouthpieces are the cause so much as a symptom. There aren't people actively going around encouraging people in their 20's and 30's to not prepare for their retirement, yet the outcome is just about the same. It's hard to make a human mind care about long term big-picture issues when they are distracted by the here and now.
I'm sure if you went and explored it, you would find the major source of top-down executive action on climate change is because shameless lobbies are saying 'we don't want to pay for this shit' and 'we don't want to write down our business activities that we'd have to stop.'
Yeah the climate skeptics are doing something to contribute, but mostly they are calming people down by giving them permission to go into denial. The lobbies are demonstrating that popular causes hold little sway over government policy, so public opinion is probably not a long term or sustainable solution to getting the decision makers to defer to scientific expertise.
Thus who gives a shit? most people argue censorship not on their own behalf, but on condescending behalf of others. I don't know what the answer to corporate lobbying is, but a popular movement to demand campaign finance reform - something simple like vote for the party that advertises the least, may result in more representative democracy than a popular movement on any one issue.

4. I don't know what the fuck else these guys stand for.

Because I don't pay much attention to them, as stated. I don't even voyeuristically watch Alex Jones or read Brightbart or whatever it is called. I suspect Alt-right critics that do have some kind of freudian secret 'jones' for 'Jones'. Like Athiests think about God more than most religious people do.


The Alt-Right are probably more a problem for themselves than anyone else. Like terrorism and other attention seeking paradigms, do the most damage if you participate in it. And not by joining ranks but by engaging at all. These are marginalised and disenfranchised people.

You may be tempted to make a 'first they came for the...' type argument that the Alt-right are just the beginning murmurs of Nazism and thus they need to be quashed before Holocaust II breaks out.

I don't begrudge people that argument, but nobody is idly standing by while mass deportations or even racist demonstrations are going on except for maybe the President of the United States.

But for me a better analogy and of more pressing concern is this one:

It's May 1st, 2003. George W Bush stands on top of the deck of the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln Aircraft Carrier beneath a 'Mission Accomplished' banner picked out in red, white and blue. Gulf War 2 is over, and now we move onto the occupation, which the people of Iraq are anxiously awaiting the details of how the regime change and rebuilding of Iraq will unfold.

In this analogy, the 'Coalition of the Willing' are the left, and I guess Saddam Hussein would be Harvey Weinstein or some other symbol of the patriarchy.

I see much of the Alt-Right as the people in Iraq that upon realizing that nobody had really thought out what happens after the patriarchy is smashed, and the conduct of the left seem to see them as oppressors by default and have no place in the coming utopia that these are the naive people that go fall in with ISIS simply because ISIS will have them.

And ISIS are/were a problem that for the west were not worth addressing, and probably much more of a problem for their constituents, though with a little more consideration and a little less egalitarianism we could have prevented ourselves from helping them get the legs they did.

And if you are reading this and feel the understandable desire to distance yourself psychologically from George W Bush, that's a simple task - what does the world look like once the patriarchy is smashed? Once black lives matter? Once the Alt-right are gone for good? Have you thought beyond the popular movement, the smashing of the old regime and thought through the occupation, the reconstruction period?

If you have, then I guess you aren't the coalition of the willing, if you haven't thought that far ahead and thought that once the problems at hand were dealt with it would be smooth sailing from there and Meryl Streep or something can be president, then you too are W baby.

On Male Feminism

With apologies to Norman Rockwell.