Tuesday, 22 April 2014

My presentation to the Libertarian Party of Wisconsin (text)

A lot of you guys might believe that political correctness originated under the communism of the Soviet Union, and yes, this is the setting in which the term was born. Its first popular use was by equalitarian socialists of the mid-20th century to describe dogmatic, hard-line communists who toed the official party line over things like compassion or common sense. Since then, it has been embraced by the "new left" within various social and political institutions, most notably, government, education and the media.

But political correctness is not a new thing. It is not a left/right thing or a western thing. It is not the brainchild of Cultural Marxism, no matter how well or how eagerly cultural marxists may employ it as a bludgeon in order to control public discourse.

At its core, political correctness is about is the dominant belief system, the dominant social and political paradigm, dictating what people are allowed to say and what ideas people are allowed to express, which in turn dictates what others are allowed to hear and what ideas they are allowed to be exposed to.

In this sense, a fundamentalist Imam issuing a fatwa against someone who published a cartoon of Mohammad is no different from the ousting of Larry Summers from his position as president of Harvard for daring tosuggest that there might be biological differences between men andwomen that affect their levels of success in different fields ofstudy. Here we have two wildly different belief systems at work--radical Islam and progressive feminism, but in both cases, individuals are being punished for expressing ideas that are considered taboo by the establishment.

Here in the west, the dominant paradigm that dictates which ideas are politically correct and which are not leans to the left. It favors progressivism, feminism, socialism, egalitarianism, sexual freedom, environmentalism and diversity. Its thought-terminating, conversation-ending cliches reflect that paradigm. But accusatory words like sexist, racist, homophobe, misogynist, over-privileged white male, rape apologist, woman-hater, Neanderthal, right wing-nut and even climate change denier are no different in intention and effect from those in use 500 years ago: heretic, infidel, blasphemer, apostate, heathen, witch.

Correct words and ideas are extolled by the establishment. Incorrect ones are censured or banned.

While political correctness is generally thought of as the means by which governments and formal institutions can establish political control of society and curtail freedom of thought partly through controlling and manipulating language, suggesting an official top-down system of enforcement and control--here in the west, it has morphed into a multi-headed hydra, attacking ideas from the top-down, the bottom up, and playing all ends against the middle.

One of its primary feeding and breeding grounds in the US and Canada lies on the typical university campus, where administrators, intentionally or unwittingly, students' unions and student "social justice" warriors have created a kind of perfect storm of thought suppression in the very realm of our society supposedly devoted to freedom of thought and the free exchange of ideas.

In November of 2012, author and psychologist Warren Farrell was invitedby the Canadian Association for Equality to speak at the Universityof Toronto. Among Farrell's credentials are his election twice to the board of directors of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women, having his books featured in Oprah's book club, and being named by the Financial Times as one of the world's top 100 Thought Leaders. He runs regular workshops for couples looking to communicate more effectively with each other, and frankly, he's the most polite, kind and soft-spoken man you could hope to meet.

Only problem was that the topic of his talk was the "boy crisis". He planned to address the high rate of male suicide (3 to 4 times that of girls and young women), the growing "failure to launch" phenomenon regarding young men, and falling levels of male educational attainment. Oh, and then there's the dire sin of his questioning of the feminist assertion that men are, and have ever been, as a class, the oppressors of women as a class.

Campus social justice warriors, in conjunction with the university's women's studies department, the student union, and the local chapter of the Canadian Union of Public Employees, set up a human barricade at thedoors to the building, refusing to allow attendees to enter. They openly claimed they were there to shut down an event that was "promoting patriarchy". They claimed that some of Farrell's research findings have been misogynistic, and promote rape and incest. They verbally bullied, harassed, assaulted and abused several attendees, who were pulled to the side by police for their own protection. When police intervened to remove the human barricade so attendees could enter, the protesters turned their hostility on police, some of them committing assault.

All to prevent a discussion on why young men commit suicide so much more often than young women, why they're increasingly flunking out of school, and why they're experiencing a growing reluctance to take on adult responsibilities.

Since then, the Canadian Association for Equality has sponsored other events at universities in Ontario--Ryerson, the University of Toronto, the University of Ottawa and Queens University--to speak about the problems facing men and boys in our culture, and to criticize feminism's sexist double standards. Many of these talks were disrupted by protesters who turned lights on and off, pulled fire alarms, shouted through bullhorns while banging and chantingjust outside the lecture hall doors, and in the most recent case, atalk by Professor Janice Fiamengo at her own university in Ottawa, by attending, and then shutting the talk down by banging desks, blowing horns, singing, chanting and shouting.

Prominent American civil rights lawyer Harvey Silvergate bemoans this new culture on North American campuses. As a young, idealistic student at Harvard, he participated in the Free Speech Movement, and he lamentswhat he calls the Harvard bait and switch--that now so many of the very liberals who protested in favor of freedom of speech and thought on campus have flip-flopped since they became numerically dominant on university campuses, in faculty and administration. He is in the unenviable position of being a staunch liberal who feels compelled to defend the rights of conservative students, pro-life students, Christian and traditionalist students, through his work with the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization he founded. Not because he agrees with their politics, but because they are now the ones whose voices and rights are being marginalized by the politically correct establishment.

It is the nature of power that it seeks to preserve itself, and one of the most effective ways to do that is to suppress dissenting speech and thought. Unlike many people these days, I refuse to specifically implicate the political left in a repressive and abusive behavior that is just as common in highly conservative institutions when conservatism is the dominant paradigm. Political correctness is not a problem with any particular ideology--it's an ideology problem, a human problem, and it will always be the political underdog who most highly values the right to free expression of ideas.

As a vocal anti-feminist for the last four years, whose current place of business is YouTube, I am extremely concerned by the idea that any institution presenting itself as a venue to share information and ideas might place unreasonable or biased limits on freedom of thought and expression. And one of the more insidious developments in recent years has been the shifting of the ideological battlefield away from arenas where free speech is guaranteed, whether by the US Constitution or Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms, and into the private sector. While governments in free societies must tolerate speech they don't like, privately owned businesses are uniquely vulnerable to any threat to their bottom line, and exempt from anti-censorship laws.

Last year, a feminist launched a media campaign designed to draw attention to misogynistic pages and groups on Facebook. Admittedly, some of these pages were pretty horrific--glorifying violence against women, and promoting hate. Mortified by all the negative publicity, Facebook agreed to allow feminist consultants who were experts in "spotting misogyny" to train their community standards staff in how to better moderate that privately owned online community.

In the months that followed, a lot of misogynistic pages were removed. However, also caught in the anti-misogyny sweep were pages whose only sin was to publish government statistics on domestic violence, or to draw attention to harmful or criminal behaviors most commonly committed by women--things like infanticide and paternity fraud. Allowed to stand for months on end were pages devoted to promoting male genocide, or to discussing why all men are pigs.

And while I am no fan of censorship--either by government or by private entities--what is good for the goose should reasonably be considered good for the gander. But in the world of gender politics, this is almost never how it plays out.

A year or two ago, JC Penny was called on the carpet by outraged Social Justice Warriors for marketing t-shirts to girls that claimed, "I'mtoo pretty to do homework, so I make my brother do it for me." Chagrinned by media backlash and a potential boycott over accusations of misogyny and sexism, JC Penny pulled the shirts from their shelves, where they had once sat alongside a plethora of merchandise claiming "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them." As far as I know, "Boys are stupid. Throw rocks at them" is still a brand available on the shelves at various retailers.


Keep in mind, this Tweet was lampooning Dan Snyder, not Asian Americans. It was ridiculing racism and racists, not any given race. But Social Justice Warriors picked up their pitchforks and sallied forth, nonetheless. Apologies abounded, the tweet was removed, and somehow, the social justice warriors only got angier.

As Harvey Silvergate said, free speech for me, but not for thee. And while Colbert might be a big enough cash cow for Comedy Central to be willing to weather this internet tempest in a teacup, not everyone who speaks against the status quo is profitable enough for TV networks, radio stations, and online social networking sites and hosting services to tolerate the hit to their wallet.

Case in point, Justin Vacula, a prominent member of the atheist skeptic community, was forced to resign his position as head of his chapter of the Secular Coalition for America because he had the temerity to be skeptical about feminist claims of rampant sexual harassment and assault at conferences and events. Yes, you heard me, a leader of a community that values skepticism of any and all claims and bases itself on solid empiricism and the scientific method was ousted from a prominent position in that community because he refused to accept vague, ephemeral and completely unsubstantiated claims that women were being harassed and raped willy nilly at conferences. He was deemed unfit among the skeptical community because of his skepticism. Meanwhile, the methods by which his enemies coerced him into stepping down included slander, libel, employment blacklisting and an organized letter writing campaign to his parents, who were publicly doxxed, to tell them what a horrible, misogynistic son they'd raised.

Another similar case involved a father of four named Gregory Allen Elliott in Toronto. He'd offered his services as a graphic designer to an organization called women in toronto politics, founded by outspoken feminist Steph Guthrie. Here was a man so devoted to promoting women in politics that he offered to design posters and advertisements to assist in that endeavor. Where he went wrong was in criticizingGuthrie and her friends on Twitter for their current and planned real life harassment of a man whose legal actions they disapproved of--a game developer who'd created a crude and vulgar video game app targeting another feminist's ideas and actions. The three women in the case made public the game developer's real name, address and other identifying information, had tweeted to all software companies in the region to not hire him, and were planning to poster his home town with evidence of his sins.

Gregory Allen Elliot told them over Twitter that he disapproved of their vengeful mentality and their harassment of a man who had done nothing illegal, and who had published a game clearly labelled and explained as a satire and criticism of a single individual's ideas. Police found nothing in Mr Elliott's tweets that even hinted at intimidation, threats or violence.

Yet those tweets are the basis for a pending charge of criminal harassment against Mr Elliott. Yes, you heard me. A man tweeting that he disapproves of a group of women conspiring to harass someone is, apparently, itself criminal harassment. Elliott is currently on trial for daring to say he thinks Steph Guthrie and her feminist friends are horrible people.

And then an acquaintance of theirs violated judicial protocol and wrote directly to the judge that these women had conspired to make a public example out of Mr Elliot through manipulation of the justice system. The judge has ordered that the allegations be investigated.

Heck, just the day before yesterday, in my home town, radio station 630CHED was forced to pull an opinion poll and apologize to local professional umbrage-takers. Their dire crime? After a news piece quoted an Edmonton police spokesperson as having said victim blaming is still too common in cases of sexual assault, CHED set up a poll to find out just how prevalent it is. The question was, "when a person is assaulted, is the victim ever to blame?"

This uproar is a bit of a head-scratcher. If it was not offensive to have Edmonton Police services say "victim blaming still happens too often", how on earth is it now offensive to have a radio station run a poll to figure out what percentage of people think this way?

And again, what happens? The offending poll--or story, or op-ed, or tweet--gets pulled, and the "offender" apologizes like there was no tomorrow, often to no avail. Ask Larry Summers what good his several apologies did him. He was still out of a job six months later. In fact, I think apologizing was his first mistake--the outrage over his hypothesis was not grounded in any sort of reason or logic. It was pure irrational emotion, so raw that a female professor in the audience later claimed, completely sincerely, she could not believe what she was hearing and literally felt like she was going to throw up.

Summers' hypothesis--one of three he presented as possible reasons women do not achieve at the extreme high end of ability in math and physics quite as often as men do--was that because men have a flatter distribution curve for many traits (including intelligence), there are simply more men than women at both ends of the curve when you're talking several standard deviations from the mean. In other words, there are more male idiots than female ones, and more male geniuses than female ones.

There is nothing untrue or unreasonable about this statement. And I find it telling that the professor who was driven to nausea over her complete misinterpretation of what he said--which was also repeatedly misinterpreted in the media--felt no offence over Summers' intimation that there are more stupid men than stupid women. In fact, she seemed to not even notice it, given her interpretation was that he'd claimed that men were inherently more intelligent than women, and more gifted in math and science.

Circumstances are even more troubling in Europe. Some examples from the last couple of years in the UK include a young man being charged with a crime forcalling a police officer's horse "gay", and an elderly woman being arrested for shouting outside a mosque that Muslimsshould fit in or go back where they came from, only blocks away from a spot where a fundamentalist Imam was routinely preaching Jihad to passersby, unmolested by police.

A recent proposal for a bill presented to the European Union suggested codifying something described as "group libel" in itslegislation. It laid out a scheme by which any negative, ridiculing or mocking speech against any identifiable group of people--stated examples of which included religions, races, ethnicities, and feminism--would be actionable in a court of law. In Sweden, political pundits have called for laws to make anti-feminist speech criminal. In Spain, they recently passed an act that officially declares femicide, defined as the killing of any woman by any man, a special crime subject to stiffer penalties than any other type of homicide, and if the European Union were to accept "group libel" as a valid concept, speaking against such a feminist law would become effectively illegal.


The most horrifying thing I have observed in my four years of picking apart and criticizing political and scholarly feminism is the willingness of those who desire to control the discourse to silence and marginalize dissenting voices. In this way, the feminist movement is no different from any other totalitarian ideology, however, they have a weapon more effective than any religion or communist government--they claim to represent women, therefore any criticism levelled against them can be construed as damaging to women. And we're just not that rational when it comes to things that harm women--hence the Violence Against Women Act, specifically to protect the very members of our society who are the least likely to suffer violence.

The radicals are the loudest and most influential voices and the silent majority remains too silent, even when they might otherwise want to speak. Because when they do speak, they end up, like self-described equity feminist Christina Hoff Sommers, listed in the anti-feminismsection of feminism's wikipedia page. Or they end up having to resign from their position as head of an organization or institution.

Feminism has a multitude of disagreements within its big tent, so many that some have taken to using the word "feminisms" to describe the movement, but the instinctive response to outsiders levelling criticism at any feminist or branch of feminism tends to be a powerful desire to circle the wagons against the external threat. To defend the label rather than disavow bigots, censors or liars, or to refuse to examine how even their more mainstream ideas play a significant role in creating such radicals.

It's not difficult to expose feminism for what it is--a set of unfalsifiable hypotheses that have no basis in empirical reality, and which are about as effective as a coin-toss in predicting reality. What IS difficult is maintaining a venue in which to perform that exposition so others can see it. Feminists interested in silencing people like me often employ the community moderation processes of social networking sites, processes that are often automated, to shut down the accounts of people they don't like or to have their materialremoved. My Youtube channel is quite sizeable, and I put money in Youtube's pockets, so they generally put a pair of human eyes on any flagging or complaints against me. Smaller channels, those for whom the unfailing guarantee of freedom of expression is most important, are not so lucky.

I have heard many people in the gender debate say that if you're having to step down from a job or fear violent retaliation because of your ideas, that obviously means your ideas are invalid or bad or wrong or harmful. Tell that to Copernicus. Tell it to Galileo. Tell it to that dude who suggested that washing your hands between handling a corps and delivering a baby could save lives--the medical establishment thought he was a total quack for decades, and shunned him accordingly.

An idea needs to be open to challenge and scrutiny. It needs to be allowed to compete in a free marketplace. And yet so many feminists I've interacted with seem to see George Orwell's 1984 not as a warning, but an instruction manual. Like Newspeak, the only language that gets smaller every year, the body of ideas on a number of issues is in danger of also getting smaller, year by year.

And it's up to the political underdogs to not only hold back the social and political forces that threaten to erode freedom of expression, despite guarantees written into our constitutions and national charters, but to not pull a Harvard bait and switch and become the very thing we're fighting against, if and when we become the dominant voice in society.



Thursday, 27 February 2014

Whispers of Dissent Within the Feminist Echo Chamber

Well, the article at The New Republic is up, and it's a mixed bag. Which generally means mostly awful (and offal, heh), but with a few pleasant surprises.

For my part, my over 42-and-change minute interview on a number of different topics was condensed into a single quoted sentence fragment, and a two sentence soundbite about false accusations.

If anyone is interested in hearing what Ms. Matchar and I actually talked about for over 40 minutes, feel free to click here.

Issues we discussed: 

Why I got involved in the Men's Rights Movement.

Whether culturally propagated rape myths (such as the myth that ordinary, otherwise decent guys will commit rape if they have the chance, an unwillingness to accept the empirical evidence that 90% of rapes of women are committed by a small percentage of men who are recidivists, and frequent comparisons between the attrition rate for rape with the conviction rate for other crimes ) coupled with a near-constant public emphasis on the "re-victimizing" of women by the system and how difficult reporting is, discourages women from reporting.

Whether men should be considered rape victims when women have sex with them against their will, through use of threats, force, or drug/alcohol incapacitation. Currently, in statistical data such as that gathered by the CDC, for whom feminist Mary Koss acts as a consultant, such men are not considered rape victims, even if they have been forced into sex. Previous year data in their latest NISVS showed an equal number of male and female victims of sex obtained through force, threats or incapacitation (and attempts, which they did not separate out in either case), and a significant perpetration rate among women, however, Koss (and thus, the CDC) does not consider a woman forcing a man to have heterosexual sex to be rape. 

Whether, given the large minority of (as I would define it) rapes and attempted rapes committed by women, feminist ideas around rape (that it lies on a continuum of normal male behavior within the culture, that it is tied to masculinity and patriarchal domination of women, etc) have any veracity. 

Whether dubiously framing rape as intrinsic or connected to masculinity serves a purpose for feminists.

My own experience as a victim of sexual assault, and why I chose not to report it.

Whether the predominant rhetoric around rape (of women) as the most heinous of crimes (some claim it is worse than murder) does victims a disservice when it comes to stigma and recovery. When the only message the culture (not just feminists!) tells you is that the worst thing possible has happened to you with an extreme focus on the (long term, often framed as permanent) harms, is there a possibility of victims internalizing this message to the point where recovery is obstructed rather than facilitated? 

Whether other voices than feminism have a right to a public opinion about rape and how to combat it. 

Whether we are treating women like children when we assign them victim status for making the exact same decision as a man--that is, if two people are equally drunk and both consent to sex while in that condition, is it demeaning to women to assign them all the agency of a piece of furniture by labelling them victims and the men rapists? (Incidentally, commend Ms. Matchar for not calling for James Taranto's head, and even defending him. How refreshing.)

Whether a calm and coherent national conversation about rape is even possible given the fact that posing such a question as the above will lead to 14 feminist articles vilifying you by misrepresenting what you said being published within 24 hours, and NOW starting a petition to have you fired from your job (James Taranto).

Whether there is any "good way" to deal with a crime that occurs mostly in private and without witnesses, mostly between acquaintances or within a dating/relationship context, and which is based entirely on two people's states of mind.

The false accusation issue was indeed part of our conversation (the only part that made it into Ms. Matchar's article), and something discussed at Ms. Matchar's request. Much of her commentary on the issue and the MRM's stance on it seems outright silly:

(The Hofstra case has become a touchstone in the MRM community, viewed as proof that a woman will ruin five men’s lives to cover her tracks if she needs to.)


Um...no. We don't "view" it as proof. It IS proof. If cases like Hofstra exist, that necessarily proves that such things sometimes can and do happen. On the other hand, I doubt that any MRA believes women who behave in this way are common, just like we do not believe that people who commit sexual assault are common, but Ms. Matchar seems intent on portraying us this way. 

As for the "2-8% of rape accusations are false" thing, on the one hand, I'm not sure why it matters. The biggest issue MRAs tend to have regarding false accusations of rape is that the punishment does not fit the crime, in terms of damage done to the victim. The system generally assigns punishments based on the degree of harm done, not on the commonness of the crime. If it didn't, first degree murder would be a misdemeanor while pocketing pens from your workplace or shoplifting would be capital offences. 

One can allow that rape is more common than false accusations of rape (in fact, it can be much more common, even if the false report rate is quite high, due to the low rate at which rapes are reported to police), and still consider false accusations of rape a difficult problem that ruins people's lives, and it's nice that the author acknowledges this. But her answer seems to be to convince progressives and feminists to take on (or rather, stop ignoring and minimizing) the issue. 

However, from what I've seen, feminists seem to have this idea that taking false accusations seriously will make actual victims fear filing a report, and they typically (and incorrectly) emphasize low prevalence rates for false accusations compared to rape prevalence as a justification for not taking them seriously. I don't think they, on the whole, are in a position to be convinced of anything different.

It is unfortunate that some actual victims of rape are not believed by authorities. I know of at least one case where a woman who, it was later determined, had indeed been raped by a serial rapist, who was fined for filing a false police report. That must have been a terrible situation, and no less terrible after it was discovered that the man had gone on to commit other rapes because her case was not taken seriously enough--a vindication likely more bitter than sweet for her. However, given the high proportion (relative to other crimes) of convictions of sexual assault that result in exoneration (usually through DNA evidence, though often through recanting), I'm going to assert that we fuck it up in the other direction a lot, too. 

Feminists tend also, as the author of this piece has done, to consistently misrepresent the statistics. 2-8% is the lower boundary, derived from rape reports to police that can be determined to be definitely false (or definitely unfounded) to nearly a criminal court standard. I could just as easily flip that around and say that "only" 6% of rape accusations are true, because that is the percentage of reports that result in conviction", however, I would never do that because it would be absurd and dishonest. Ms. Matchar (and pretty much any feminist I talk to) is lumping all reports that are not determined definitely false into the "true" category, when in reality, the vast majority of cases can't be proven either way. I suppose it's entirely possible that the false report rate is as low as 2-8%. I suppose it's entirely possible that it's as high as 94%. But I don't think so, either way. 

Even regardless of that, the rates she cites have no bearing on informal false accusations made to people other than the police, and which have led in some cases to accused men being assaulted and even murdered. I find it amazing how short American's memories are, considering that a hugely disproportionate number of the black men who swung from trees during the era of lynching were accused of sex crimes.

And I find it odd that Ms. Matchar thinks MRAs are obsessed with false accusations. There are many websites and forums largely devoted, for instance, to men who suffer domestic violence, or to male victims of sexual violence, etc, but as far as I know, only one (The Community of the Wrongly Accused, formerly The False Rape Society) that is devoted to false rape accusations. Most Men's Rights Websites are multi-purpose forums that discuss a wide variety of issues, including false accusations, and much of the conversation about false accusations revolves around how difficult it is to find reliable estimates of prevalence simply because of that large number of cases that cannot be proven either way. 

I also find it odd that Ms. Matchar thinks MRAs are inflating the problem of false rape accusations when men are collectively accused of rapiness by the likes of Jessica Valenti, who claims that even otherwise decent guys will rape if they get the opportunity. Given that only a small percentage of men ever rape, what is that, other than a false accusation levelled against an entire gender?

She goes on to condescendingly, indirectly dismiss Paul Elam's concerns over the new, still changing, processes colleges use to handle accusations of sexual misconduct. It's a gorgeous rhetorical trick. First, you state their position like so:



The way rape is dealt with on college campuses is another bugaboo of the MRM. “We have a problem with feminists hyper-inflating rape statistics, creating a kind of hysteria on campus over a problem that needs due attention from law enforcement,” says Paul Elam, the founder of A Voice for Men, widely considered the flagship website of the MRM. 
Then, you follow it up with something like this:
The site, which features essays pontificating on society’s supposed anti-male bias [emphasis mine]
In the space of one sentence fragment, you have just invalidated any claim made by the owner of said website, which is portrayed as just a bunch of people "pontificating" about things that don't really exist. Neat-o, huh?

Next trick is follow it up with typical feminist black/white, all-or-nothing zero-summing:


 But the far more pressing issue in terms of the way that colleges address rape accusations has to do with the institutions ignoring or mishandling cases of sexual assault. Occidental, along with a number of other elite colleges, came under federal investigation last year for precisely this. The case was brought by 37 current and former students, including several men. According to the complaint, administrators explicitly discouraged students from coming forward with sexual assault reports. This is not unique to Occidental—similar cases have arisen at the University of North Carolina and Swarthmore, among others. This kind of discouragement, shaming, and victim-blaming is exactly why we need anonymous reporting and more stringent anti-sexual assault policies, say victims’ advocates.

Voila! You have just succeeded in deflecting the attention away from valid concerns over due process rights by pretending that there exists no means by which colleges can take accusations of sexual misconduct seriously while still being fair to those who are accused. And you can do it by implying that the solution to some colleges ignoring their own policies is not to require them to enforce those policies, but to bring in more stringent and draconian policies.


The MRM’s tirades and hijinks certainly don’t meaningfully add to the debate surrounding the way we handle sexual assault. But to totally ignore the issues that they raise does not further a productive conversation. 

I'd like to again invite readers to listen to my interview with Ms. Matchar, as well as Paul Elam's and Dean Esmay's, and get a feel for the "tirade-like" nature of our answers to her questions. Compare "hijinks" like Men's Rights Edmonton's "Don't be THAT Girl" campaign, with feminist "hijinks" such as this poster. Compare the calm and measured tone of a men's advocate like Warren Farrell, Miles Groth or Pierce Harlan with the feminist reaction of dishonestfurious, spittle-flecked moral outrage to James Taranto's article on drunk sex, or to a presentation about the problems boys face in society.

While I will not deny that tirades and hijinks exist within the MRM (Patriarchy Party, anyone?), the assumption that progressives are even capable of having a calm, reasoned, fair-minded and balanced discussion about rape is dubious at best, self-evidently false at worst, as Ms. Matchar indicates in her very next breath:


Unfortunately, it’s difficult to talk about these issues in progressive or feminist circles, where discussions of sexual assault prevention can quickly degenerate into angry hyperbole and name-calling. Among progressive media circles, to suggest that sexual assault and sexual assault prevention can be less than clear-cut is to court accusations of being a rape apologist.


Hell, I just got called a rape apologist by Naomi Wolf during a panel discussion last weekend for having the temerity to say that one reason so few rapists are prosecuted is because, given the nature of the crime, rape is difficult to prove or disprove. The only thing that separates it from a legal act is two people's states of mind--her lack of consent and his awareness of her lack of consent. Before I could even finish my thought, she turned to me and, face inches from mine, called me a rape apologist.

What I had said seems like a clear-cut statement to me, one that even agrees with feminist rhetoric on rape (that rape is about consent, and that rape is difficult to prove), yet if you're one of the "bad people", saying it apparently means you're a rape apologist.

I mean think about it. Feminists fought hard to eliminate such requirements as corroboration or physical evidence of resistance from sexual assault law. They fought and succeeded in making rape a crime whose actus reus is contingent on the lack of consent of the victim. 

And yet I got called a rape apologist by a feminist for saying rape is a crime based on consent. 

After the panel was over, I went up to her and said I couldn't believe she called me a rape apologist. She said I sure sounded like one, to which I attempted to reply, "For saying rape is about consent?" She interrupted me mid-sentence, claiming that as a rape survivor, it was too upsetting for her to discuss. 

And perhaps the most ironic thing about what she said is the accusation by a young feminist during the Q&A for my talk at Ryerson University, that Naomi Wolf herself is a rape apologist, who (allegedly) engaged in victim blaming regarding the Julian Assange case.

What a labia traitor you are, Naomi! Shame on you.

But back to Ms. Matchar:

So unless progressives want the MRM to lead the dialogue on these issues, perhaps they should start addressing them more comprehensively and less reactively. There will almost surely be more MRM rape campaigns in the coming year, says Dean Esmay, the managing editor of A Voice for Men: “We will continue to look for ways to stir things up.” Ignoring the matters these campaigns raise risks ceding the conversation.
And there lies the rub. MRAs want to have a conversation about rape. Feminists and other progressives, in the main, like Naomi Wolf, want to have a monologue about it. An "everyone else sit down, shut up and listen quietly" kind of monologue.


The term "rape apologist" is more a tactic than an assessment of someone's position on rape, intended to serve as a conversation ender, a way of either shutting someone up, or giving others moral permission to ignore what they say. It's also a way for feminists to separate the "us" from the "them", to identify and target an enemy and maintain their "vagina monologue" on sexual assault.

Naomi Wolf pulling the rape victim card was another attempted conversation ender, one which I gracefully accepted, not because such a tactic is effective in shutting me up, but because, like most feminists and progressives, she does not seem able to look at the problem in anything resembling an objective way. A discussion with someone so emotional they cannot handle a conversation they insist on having in the first place, the moment there is a difference of opinion is going to be pointless waste of time. 

Ms. Matchar warns progressives that ignoring the issues and concerns raised by the MRM may mean ceding the conversation to us. And here she's got it wrong, yet again. The feminist conversation about rape is not a conversation at all, but a one-sided, biased, moralizing lecture that does not permit any deviation from the party line, even by other feminists. 

Which makes me wonder how long it will be before Ms. Matchar herself has the scarlet letter pinned on her, merely for stating it's a bit of a stretch to characterize James Taranto's article on drunk sex "rape apology". 

If even Naomi Wolf can be labelled a rape apologist for being skeptical of what might well be politically motivated, trumped-up or inflated accusations against a man detested by the US government (among others), then letting Taranto off the hook for his "obvious rape apologia" could well get Ms. Matchar in hot water among the sisterhood. Feminists are all too happy to turn on each other over such things.

Which leads me to commend Ms. Matchar for defying, even in these small ways, the orthodoxy of progressive feminists, and to advise her to watch her back. The feminist sisterhood might not be too happy with her right now.






Monday, 17 June 2013

Okay, I really wasn't interested in doing this, but...

I kind of have to address it, because it's getting ridiculous.

For anyone who doesn't know, The Wooly Bumblbee (Kristina Hansen) is an internet atheist who found the MRM during the atheist/sceptic schism over Atheism+. She is on a rampage of epic proportions, determined to avenge her honor after being wronged by the MRM.

When she found the MRM, she started making videos (fairly accurately) bashing feminism. Or perhaps she started making those videos, and then the MRM found her.

Paul Elam at A Voice for Men liked her "in your face, I don't give a fuck" style. He published a few of her articles, embedded a few of her videos, then eventually offered her an editor position.

He did this despite several glaring red flags in videos she'd uploaded to her previous YT channel (TruthandOblivion, which got flagged down), where she used terms like, "you're the man, you have to be the adult" to a male DV victim, etc. Demonstrating she's not really sensitive to the issue of sexist male-shaming language. At one point, her husband got into a disagreement with Integralmath (Justicar) a non-MRA but MRM-friendly gay atheist YouTuber, and ended up calling him a "disgusting fudgepacker" or something of the sort. A lot of things that should have filled most of us with misgivings.

Apparently Paul wasn't aware of the red flags (he doesn't even have time to watch all MY videos, pfft :P), or ignored any tingling of his spider senses (or perhaps intentionally ignored the flags because he is constantly juggling multiple priorities). He promoted her (way too early for ANYONE, really, who was so new to the MRM) to senior news director for Canada. His rationale as far as I understood it was that the MRM needs doers as well as thinkers, and she was the former rather than the latter.

Almost immediately after that, she started making videos on her personal YouTube channel demanding that certain people (racists, homophobes, libertarians and misogynists) "get the fuck out of OUR movement", and calling out MGTOWs for being bitter, paranoid misogynists who want to blame all their problems on women (something even the most extreme MGTOWs don't really do--they blame men's problems on both men and women).

She managed to alienate so many people, Paul finally had enough and removed her from the masthead of AVFM.

At that point, she went on the warpath and released a video containing snippets of a skype call with Paul (which both parties recorded without telling the other, ha!), snippets that were isolated from any context. In response to the quote-mining, Paul uploaded the entire conversation to YT.

I had held my tongue through all of this, even having been in the position to see it coming the moment he offered her an editor's position. AVFM is Paul's website, and I'm not interested in telling him how he should run it. Several MGTOWs had asked me to make a response video to WBB over her accusations, and I declined. I know what kind of person she is, and I didn't want to step into the warzone.

But once Paul had severed ties between her and AVFM, I did make some comments--on Paul's video and on reddit--regarding how I'd seen this coming right from the start, and expressing my opinion of WBB, which I will crystallize here: 

WBB seems to thrive on attention (both negative and positive), has very sloppy impulse control, is emotionally unstable, and shows a pattern when criticized for anything she said of blaming the listener for not hearing her properly and then repeating exactly what it was she said that they took issue with ("Learn how to listen, moron. I never said X. What I ACTUALLY said was X. Idiot."). She takes up causes she thinks will get her admiration (such as the A Voice for Boys site, which she started and quickly abandoned--the URL now redirects to her personal website), and it's probably at least as much about external validation as anything else. I have watched her repeatedly engage in several of the tactics of abusive women--DARVO (deny, attack, and reverse victim and offender), especially--when people take issue with her attitudes or behavior. Witness the quote-mining she engages in, while simultaneously castigating her opponents for their "intellectual dishonesty" and "lies".

So anyway, I made some comments expressing these opinions about her and the debacle on that video of Paul's, and a few on reddit.

Paul then uploaded a 12 minute video that described the situation as he saw it, explained why he'd let her go from the site, reiterated his position that being apolitical means tolerating libertarians as well as more mainstream political philosophies, and confirming AVFM's support for MGTOW. I may have commented on that video, as well, though I really can't recall.

She uploaded a video of her and her husband playing that video, then pausing and attacking him, libertarians, MGTOWs, me, and anyone else they could think of, in one of the most infantile and incoherent examples of an ad hominem rant I think I've ever come across. You really have to listen to it to understand what I'm talking about.

I commented there, and my comments were heavily upvoted. 









When the bombardment of criticism from annoyed MRAs peaked, she disabled comments for a brief period. A day or two later, I went to see if they were still disabled, and there was a note in the lowbar that she'd uploaded the first of a new 7-video series about all that is wrong with the MRM. I thought it was odd, since I was subscribed to her and that video hadn't shown up in my subscription new upload list. So I went to her channel and discovered I was blocked (which automatically un-subs you).



The first five of her 7 videos are up. After listening to 1 through 4, I can understand why she preemptively blocked me from commenting--every other criticism (perhaps more) seems focussed on me specifically. Which means she either thinks I'm the biggest fish to fry in the MRM, or she has some personal girl-grudge with me. The latter seems a little silly and obsessive, but my comments about her probably stung, and there's not much a woman like her will not do to tear another (more popular, yes, I said it) woman down. In fact, she is so much the embodiment of every toxic woman Dr. Tara talks about in her Shrink4Men blog and Erin Pizzey describes in her material, I don't know how she passed the MRM smell test beyond her first dozen videos.

The number of logical fallacies in this series (and in her and her husband's comments on them) are too many to name: ad hominem, tu quoque, personal incredulity, slippery slope, composition/division, appeal to consequences, appeal to authority... Which is kind of laughable when one considers how often she claims to care about LOGIC and FACTS and how much she claims to hate BULLSHIT so much she HAS to call it out, good fucking grief.

Even the points they make that they have actually researched are pathetic and moot. At one point, for instance, they post a screenshot of one comment of mine on reddit where I posited that the more caesarian sections we perform today, the more we'll need to in the next generation and the next, as children who would have died will survive to carry the trait of an inadequate pelvis. They claim that because having narrow hips isn't one of the leading causes of C sections (which is true), the logic is unsound. Whether they are unable to grasp that any heritable trait that used to get you killed as a baby but which modern medicine can now help you survive is going to become more common, I don't know. But it doesn't matter how common or rare that heritable trait is now, or what place it currently occupies on the list of things that modern medicine can treat--all you need to do is ask, "Is that trait heritable? Did it used to kill your children? Can modern medicine now make it so your children survive to pass on the heritable trait?" This is not that complicated, people. 

Their "understanding" of my politics (soft-core libertarian) seems to derive from my one-time use of the term "John Galt" to describe many of the long-term MRAs who, along with mostly libertarian and non-mainstream political thinkers, kept the MRM embers burning over the last 30 years, something confirmed by Rod van Mechelen of The Backlash.


Kristina and her husband seem to think I'm in cahoots with the Libertarian Party of New York, despite me being neither a New Yorker, nor an American, simply because I spoke at their convention about radical feminism and men's rights--they claim that I'm a member or affiliated with what she calls "big L" libertarians (without ever really defining what she means, other than that it's a "bullshit ideology"). 

If I spoke at the annual convention of the Alberta NDP (which I absolutely would, if they invited me) would she claim I'm in bed with them, too? I wonder what she thinks of the fact that for a year, I was a member of The National Organization for Women (I was involuntarily signed up when I registered to attend their national conference last year). When someone in one of the videos' comment threads mentioned that I was speaking about anti-feminism and the MRM to libertarians after being invited, and would likely speak about such things to any other audience as well (which is true), and wouldn't Kristina accept an invitation to speak about atheism to a Christian group? Well, she said she'd never speak to a group with different beliefs, because to do such a thing would be prostituting herself. And then later denied insinuating I'd be a prostitute for being willing to speak about men's issues to a group whose political philosophy I disagree with. 



This, after making a huge issue of the fact that I receive money from YouTube ads (which she also uses), and accepting donations from people who value my content (again, I don't see her turning away money, even when it's been forcibly extracted from other people).

The ratings bar on most of her recent videos is nearly entirely gray, she's hemorrhaging subscribers like mad, and has deleted more comments and blocked more people over this than a young earth creationist on a rampage against Richard Dawkins. One of her new supporters is a Manboobz-wannabe radical male feminist who likes to call himself "Hannibal the Victor" who she seems to like perfectly well despite her oft-stated loathing of feminism and ideological thinkers, and she has mirrored videos made by libertarians, who she claims to detest, simply because in those particular videos they are critical of MGTOW. 





But she doesn't seem able to control her impulse to get back at people she thinks wronged her, myself included, perhaps especially. Her husband is only reinforcing her in what seems little more than an escalating vendetta against "those motherfuckers who made my wife upset". The two of them together are like, "Ms. Dunning, meet Mr. Kruger", and despite being edumicated in university, not only can neither of them construct a coherent argument, as far as I know, her husband's "job" is to collect disability, and her "job" is to collect child support and pop out kids (4 already, and another on the way). I've never been more pleased with Canada's heavily subsidized post-secondary education system than when I learned my tax dollars went toward ten years of taxpayer-subsidized education so she could earn 4 degrees that apparently qualify her to sit on lawn chairs, complain, gestate babies and live on other people's dimes. 

And as far as her criticism that AVFM has done NOTHING to help men, I'll just leave these names here: Joel Kirk, Vladik Filler, Gordon Smith. And I'd remind her where the $5000 of seed money she received for the Earl Silverman Center (a man who'd be spinning in his grave over her recent bahavior and her usurping of his name, holy shit) came from. Her criticism that I'm doing nothing to help men? Ask Tom Matty--$5600 in 24 hours from the very generous folks who subscribe to my channel (thank you all so much).

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway, they just uploaded their 5th video in the series, so I figured I'd go see if there was anything they could talk about that wasn't me. HA! It's not even a minute long--nothing but a marked up screencap of a comment exchange I had on reddit, where someone asks what my education and credentials are, and WBB's added notation, "Funny how she never answers this."



Well, this conversation happened a month ago, so I didn't recall the specifics, but knowing the kind of person I am (someone who would have answered honestly) and knowing the kind of person WBB is (someone who likes to quote-mine to make her opponents look like douchebags), I scrolled ALL the way back in my comment history on reddit to a month ago, then scoured through them looking for the comment.

And wouldn't you know it? I didn't bother answering the commenter's question, because when I returned to the conversation, I noticed that they already knew the answer. And knew it, evidently, before they even asked the question: 




Imagine, someone as "intellectually honest" and who cares so much about FACTS and calling out BULLSHIT as the Wooly Bumblebee not showing you that! Honestly, this is getting retarded. 

Incidentally, one of the most interesting little coincidences in this entire thing is that after listening to a lengthy diatribe on how I have no post-secondary education and therefore am not S.M.R.T (as Homer Simpson likes to say), I happened to be listening to a CBC radio interview with someone representing Guild Software. This transgendered woman who is Stanford educated in neuroscience said that Google, after intensive internal research into the markers of excellent employees, concluded that the quality of the school an employee attended, or even whether they were credentialed at all, was no indication of how talented and effective they would be. In fact, what this woman described as "degree-seeking" was negatively correlated with the positive value of an employee because it indicates a need for external validation rather than an inner passion and drive, and an employer was better served looking primarily at "what code have you written?" when choosing new hires. 

I'm not raising this issue because of what reflection this may have on me, as someone who is not credentialed. The reason I raise it is that despite 10 years of state-subsidized education and four degrees, Kristina Hansen's accomplishments include 1) following her hind-brain into the weeds to her own self-destruction, 2) being a rabid joiner with little follow-through, as evidenced by A Voice for Boys, 3) whining about people who she claims "do nothing" a month after they handed her $5000, 4) alienating three quarters of the people she claimed she was serving, 5) squeezing out babies, 6) collecting child support and social welfare despite having milked the system for god knows how many degrees between her and her husband, and 7) throwing public temper tantrums because no one appreciates her. 

Money well spent, by all measures. Let's pay people to get educated so we can pay them to sit on their asses and generate more burdens on society. Again, I'm so glad to know I helped pay for those four degrees she's using to sit in a lawn chair and gestate a fifth fetus with. A fifth child who makes me weep for the future of humanity, because regardless of whether you're a biological determinist/reductionist or whether you think it's all environment, you have to admit those are five fucked up kids about to be unleashed on the world.

And now, in another coincidence arriving as if by divine intervention, a notable and award-winning documentary film production company has decided to make a film about the MRM and AVFM. Oh, if only, Kristina. If only you'd just kept your mouth shut long enough and kept a lid on your personality disorder batshit fucknuttery [EDIT: Kristina has taken issue with me using the term personality disorder, as this is a psychiatric diagnosis that has not been applied to her. In the interests of accuracy, I have amended this wording in such as way as to avoid implications of a clinical diagnosis, but which still conveys my intended meaning. Thank you], you could have been one of the people interviewed for that. A shame, since everything you've demonstrated so far about what you're all about has been about promoting yourself to acquire external validation, and lashing out at people who don't give you what you're after. 

Poor Wooly. You could have been famous, if only you'd just waited it out. 

Kristina, I just want to say, I avoided raising my concerns with Paul primarily because it might have been construed as me being catty--me being one of those women only concerned with monopolizing male attention and being top dogette. Given how quickly he promoted you, I figured he was smitten and would be even more prone to draw that conclusion if a shopworn old bird like me raised concerns. And I wasn't interested in turning anything into a cat-fight over market share over this movement's mostly male cheerleaders. 

And however much power you seem to think I have over AVFM (given your statements to that effect), and how much practical power I might actually have (given my reach), I choose not to involve myself in the inner workings of AVFM, and always have. Paul has actually made more decisions based on your counsel than on mine, because I would never think to tell someone how to run their own goddamn website. Even when they hire sociopathic, toxic, abusive people like you.

You've gone off the reservation, Kristina. You're operating on emotion. In fact, I don't know that there's any other way that you can operate. And whatever your actual motivations, I can tell you what it looks like to outsiders and disinterested parties: it looks like you're the misfit attacking the popular girl for getting more attention than you. It looks like you're grinding a man (AVFM) into the dirt because you were scorned by him. You're living up to every single goddamn negative stereotype of women out there, which is all the more ironic considering your constant NAFALTing to MGTOWs. 

You are the female nature that drives feminism, even if you're not a feminist, even if you hate the ideology or what it's done to something you care about (atheism). Because when it comes to what it's done for you? You're all there. Anything that will benefit you, even if it comes at the expense (or destruction) of others, you're in. Not just in, but all-in. Even as your subscribers abandon you, even as people who used to be sympathetic to your position abandon you. You'll scream you're right until your dying breath. 

You blocked me from your channel before uploading those videos either because you wanted the attention a video response from me would get you, or you wanted free rein to attack me without any rebuttal. You wanted me to seriously engage or be silent. And I didn't bother engaging, until video #5 was uploaded, obsessing entirely about me, with nothing resembling a concrete argument, nothing defensible and nothing remotely honest. 

I resent having to address this, the way I resent having to tolerate another person's screaming infant at the next table in a restaurant. I really did not want to get into this with you, but you've left me no choice. You've got one giant hard-on for me. Given my looks, how could blame you? :P

Bu there is no way you can win. And it's not even a you vs me thing. There is no possible way you can salvage yourself from the situation you've orchestrated by continuing to engage. Your credibility in both of the communities you called your own is virtually gone. I'm just the person burdened with the task of telling you.

My advice to you is to step back and let things rest for a while. You haven't demolished your credibility completely yet. There are still positive things you could do with that $5000 you got from AVFM's readers, which I'm sure they'll be eager to keep closer tabs on now. There is still a chance that you could redeem yourself for the memory of Earl Silverman. But if you keep this up--attacking people and then escalating when they criticize you--you're only going to dig your own grave. 

Your involvement with the MRM, and this petty, childish display, is even costing you your credibility among atheists. Fuck sake, let it rest.

If you have any coherent arguments against ideologies, then make them. Make them logical and back them up with evidence. It's not enough to say, "it's a bullshit ideology". It's not enough to shout, "Ayn Rand was a racist, and so are you because you follow her!" to people who don't even follow Ayn Rand. It's not enough to say, "I'll address that in another video," and then upload a video with quote-mines taken out of context. 

Good grief, get a grip on yourself. As I said in one of my comments before you blocked me, I'm embarrassed for you. Stop acting like a toddler and show some self-control.



And for any of my subscribers or followers, if there are any concerns raised in WBB's videos that you'd like me to address, please PM me and I'll deal with them. But at this point, I'm done. I'm not going to address WBB or her apparently brain-damaged husband's criticisms concerning, "Waitresses can know things!" any further.

Edited to add:




Annnnnd here she is insinuating that I have made some claim to being an academic. While I do describe myself as a gender theorist (considering that I analyse, and theorize about, gender, and considering the title is no more exclusive or protected by some accrediting or licensing body than, say, "feminist" or even "therapist"), I would challenge anyone to find any statement of mine where I have ever described myself as an academic.

Kristina Hansen, professional "bullshit caller", calling out all the lies that exist in her very own imagination. Good grief.