Do You Have To Destroy Men To Take Down The “Patriarchy?”

smash patriarchy

Found at thecompanion.in – No image credit listed

Based on my blog post called More on Social Media and University Radio Show “Echo Chambers” and my conversation in the comments section of that post, I felt it necessary to write this one. Let me explain.

I had a twitter “conversation” with someone from the radio show Scene on Radio (possibly producer and co-host John Biewen, but since the twitter “handle” was @SceneOnRadio, it’s impossible to know for sure).

Marleen, one of the readers of this blog, wanted me to listen to Episode 53: Himpathy (MEN, Part 7), originally broadcast in October of this year, because in her words:

I’ve gone and listened to four episodes. I’d recommend the 53rd one. I would hope that if something like that happened to your granddaughter or daughter your response would be that it ma mattered rather than that the thing people should be doing is telling “good” stories (defined as not bothersome).

Since I’ve expressed somewhat of an oppositional viewpoint relative to how the show’s content is presented, and specifically their misuse of Biblical interpretation, Marleen suggested (at least as I understand it) that listening to this episode might help me realize that I don’t necessarily have to “lock horns” with the show or its co-hosts (the other co-host being Celeste Headlee).

As it turns out, this is one of the episodes that includes a PDF transcript (I looked and not all of them do), so I downloaded and read it (since I can read faster than people on a podcast can talk).

I won’t go through the blow-by-blow of what was said, you can click on the link I provided and see for yourself, but here’s the highlights.

Guest Janey Williams courageously spoke in detail about her own sexual assault, and more specifically, about how, when she disclosed the assault some years later, going so far as to post the information on Facebook, she was generally disbelieved by her friends and even her own Mom (although, to be fair, Janey’s Mom was also sexually assaulted and her responses could have been influenced by her own experiences).

Well, that’s not entirely true. Some friends and her Mom believed her, but they tended to make excuses for the perpetrator’s behavior (since everyone knew him personally and maintained a continued relationship with him, while Janey had moved away and traveled for quite some time)

kate manne

Kate Manne – Image taken from her twitter account

That’s where the terms “Himpathy” and “Himpunity” come in, apparently coined by Kate Manne, an assistant professor of philosophy at Cornell University and author of the book Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny (published last year, and as of this writing, 84% of 66 reviews were either 4 or 5 stars).

Here are some definitions:

Himpathy: The reflex to extend care and sympathy to the male perpetrator, often more sympathy than we give to his female victim.

Himpunity: The striking, damaging, and downright weird habit in our culture of letting men off the hook for the awful things they do, even serious crimes. Especially if they do those things to women.

Okay, now the central message of this radio show series, according to the show’s “blurb” on their website is:

What’s up with this male-dominated world? How did we get sexism, patriarchy, misogyny in the first place? How can we get better at seeing it, and what can we do about it? Co-hosts John Biewen and Celeste Headlee explore those questions and more. Scene on Radio is a podcast from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University distributed by PRX.

So, an attempt here is being made to take Janey’s particular experiences and generalize them to systemic sexism, patriarchy, and misogyny. That is, the show wants to establish that America, or Western Civilization, or the world uses these concepts and behaviors as their bedrock foundation in order to oppress women.

Remember from my previous blog post that Biewen characterizes himself as:

Biewen claims that he is inherently an oppressor because he is a cis-hetero, white, middle-class male.

I can’t say they’re wrong, and that there isn’t some sort of “rape culture” in operation, but the question is, are all white men guilty of heinous crimes, either by direct commission or by virtue of simply being white males (as Biewen says of himself)?

The reason I ask is that the answer could have a profound impact on white boys growing up today and future generations beyond them. If they are being taught terrible things about themselves just because of who they look like in the mirror, will that really help them become better people and defeat the systemic patriarchy?

More on that later.

One thing that Biewen said was particularly disturbing:

That is misogyny, in Kate Manne’s view. Not a general dislike of women, but instead, it’s the punishment arm of patriarchy. Sexism is the theory, the ideology, that says men are this way and women are that way. That ideology is designed to keep people playing their assigned gender roles. But if sexism stops working and a woman gets out of line, misogyny brings the punishment. It tries to smack the woman back into her place.

That makes it sound like “Patriarchy” is a totalitarian country or government with “Misogyny” being the secret police force (think the old Soviet Union and the KGB) that goes out and suppresses the radical female dissidents by raping them.

In the radio program, Janey Williams provided specific details about a single event in which a person named Mathew (presumably) drugged her (he probably did, but Janey herself said she couldn’t be sure) and sexually assaulted her (the part where she was definitely sure of what he did). Given her description of Mathew, it doesn’t seem like he would be so sophisticated as to have organized his behaviors in terms of a larger political/ideological system, and that assaulting her was a punishment for her violating the tenets of that system.

In other words, he is a jerk, a sexual abuser, and a criminal. He belongs in prison. It’s impossible to know if he overtly considered that his heinous actions would be justified by a larger, formalized system or not. Chances are, he did what he did because of his scrambled, personal motivations rather than studying about it in some sort of “Patriarchy handbook.”

That said, this does seem to represent a pattern.

In the news story Outrage over 6-month sentence for Brock Turner in Stanford rape case published in June 2016, former Stanford university swimmer Brock Turner was sentenced to a mere six-month sentence after sexually assaulting an unconscious woman, a crime substantially similar to what happened to Janey. The article goes on to say:

Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky said on Thursday that Turner’s age and lack of criminal history made him feel that imposing a six-month jail sentence with probation was appropriate. Turner also has to register as a sex offender.

That’s outrageous. Does that mean if someone is young and has no criminal history, they can commit any crime whatsoever, and no matter the severity of that crime, they get a slap on the wrist? If the convict had been African-American, would the sentence have been different? And remember, this occurred in the San Francisco Bay Area, a bastion of liberal, progressive thought, not in some small rural town in the deep South, so local politics probably wasn’t a major influence. If he had done that to my daughter, I would have (proverbially speaking) roasted him over a slow fire.

If I had a sister and she had been sexually assaulted, there’s no doubt in my mind that my Dad would have killed the guy.

Maloney

Melinda Maloney – image from Gem County Sheriff’s Office and published in the Idaho State Journal

Oh, but there’s more. In the news article Jail, probation for Meridian social worker who didn’t report daughter’s sexual abuse:

A Meridian (Idaho) woman who failed to report the sexual abuse of her daughter by her husband will spend 19 days in jail as a result, as well as two years on probation.

Melinda Maloney, age 46, is married to Craig Maloney, 47, a former Meridian veterinarian who in October was sentenced to up to 40 years in prison for the decade-long sexual abuse of his stepdaughter — Melinda Maloney’s biological daughter — from the time the girl was 4 until she was 14.

Granted, the victim didn’t tell her Mom about the abuse until spring of last year, but between then and now, Maloney did nothing. Eight months afterward, the victim told her father who called the police. Craig and Melinda Maloney were arrested in September.

I’m glad Mr. Maloney got such a lengthy sentence and I hope that he doesn’t get “time off for good behavior,” because for a decade, his behavior was very, very bad.

Mom failed to protect. Was she a victim and did her own dynamics have a role to play? The news story doesn’t say. What Craig Maloney did was reprehensible, but a parent who doesn’t protect their own child has no excuse and doesn’t get any pity from me.

Unfortunately, these events seem all too common. Just recently, in Cascade, Idaho, a 29-year-old man was arrested for having sexual contact with two girls, one 17 and the other 14. Also this month, five men, including a Lutheran Pastor, were arrested in the San Francisco Bay Area for child pornography related crimes.

There isn’t a person I know who thinks that the perpetrators of these crimes should get a break, receive minimal sentences, have a valid excuse, or any of that. Although Biewen and Headlee may believe they are presenting new and startling revelations to the world about the “patriarchy” and “misogyny,” men of my generation, as old-fashioned and “sexist” as it sounds, were taught to “treat a lady with respect,” and I vividly remember my Dad telling me that “you never hit a woman.” No, believing and protecting victims is nothing new, it’s just been dressed up differently.

My Dad was born and raised in poverty in Oklahoma in the 1930s, so I suppose by 21st century progressive values, you couldn’t consider him “woke.” He and my Mom married when they were both 20 years old, and my Mom adored him. It was a devastating blow when he died suddenly in April 2017. She had been married to him for sixty-five years, literally all of her adult life. To the best of my knowledge, he never laid a hand on her in anger or harmed her in any way. He was a good husband and Dad, even if politically and experientially, he was light-years away from Biewen and Headlee.

Not all men are monsters. No, none of us are perfect, but “systemic patriarchy and misogyny” doesn’t automatically mean all white men are inevitably condemned to being “inherently oppressors,” as Mr. Biewen concludes. There is an alternative which is presented in the following quote:

“Masculinity is protecting others and building families and institutions to keep the monsters at bay.” –Ben Shapiro

I suspect that Mr. Biewen wouldn’t like Mr. Shapiro for a variety of reasons, but he and others do what Biewen’s and Headlee’s radio show fails to do: provide positive alternatives. “Scene on Radio’s MEN” series, to the best of my knowledge (having read transcripts of only two of its shows), presents the problems of patriarchy and misogyny over and over again from a variety of viewpoints. Not once (again, to the best of my knowledge) do they provide even a single, positive alternative for young white men (I don’t know the demographics of who actually listens to this show on a regular basis, but I could probably guess).

I think it was on twitter where I told someone I wouldn’t let Biewen within a mile of my nine-year-old grandson. Children, boys and girls, need positive role models of solid, responsible, and caring men and women. They need to believe that they are not just their skin color, their gender, or their culture. I can’t possibly see now “Scene on Radio’s” content provides that example, not even a little.

I did find an article at “Psychology Today” (more popularist content than well-researched scholarly articles) called Why Patriarchy Is Not About Men written by Miki Kashtan, Ph.D. I don’t agree with everything she writes, but she does present a case that men aren’t just the “patriarchy.” She also suggests a solution to the current system, though I can’t see how it could be universally applied.

Now I come to the question of what each of us can do, from wherever we are, to transform the conditions that sustain patriarchy. The very short answer: embrace nonviolence, and do it fully. Fully means not just the aspects of nonviolence that happen to be easy, or easier, for each of us. Because that tends to reproduce patterns of privilege and separation.

I do not want to presume that I know the particular ways in which embracing the fullness of nonviolence could be challenging for the marginalized. Even more importantly, given where I am positioned in society, I very explicitly do not want to tell people who’ve been systematically marginalized for centuries what to do with their lives, as that in itself would be another form of continuing patterns of separation and domination, regardless of my intent.

That’s not much to go on, but Dr. Kashtan hints that whatever solution is required, it will have to be applied to the entire population base. In other words, whatever “system” you think is responsible for male violence has to change.

news source biasI am not a fan of the New York Times because of their extreme leftist bias and, in spite of the above chart, I don’t think their quality is consistently high. However, they did present the story Mass Shooters Are All Different. Except For One Thing: Most Are Men. The Washington post published something similar: What do most mass shooters have in common? Hint: It isn’t politics, video games or religion.

The latter article states:

What binds them together and elevates their likelihood of killing in this particular fashion is a history of antisocial, sometimes violent conduct, not any particular belief set.

It would take too long to explore all of the possible contributing factors that account for this level of violence among men, particularly white men, but I promise you, I promise you, raising a bunch of young boys to blame themselves for the violence of the “patriarchy” will do more to alienate them and actually promote the behaviors you’re hoping to avoid than it will systemically stop male violence. Potentially committing misandry to eliminate misogyny isn’t helpful or even sane (and no, I’m not suggesting any of the people or institutions I’ve discussed in this essay at all desire the solution in the image below).

smothering

Found at reddit

If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. The solution, at least in a general sense and from my personal point of view, is to raise boys and young men in a manner that my Dad would have called “a gentleman,” someone who sees themselves as a protector, a nurturer, and promoter of good, not only personal good, but the good of “building families and institutions to keep the monsters at bay.” In other words, morally strong men who aren’t afraid of being positively masculine just because someone might call them a “sexist.”

As far as I can tell, we seem to be going in the wrong direction.

For more, see:

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44 thoughts on “Do You Have To Destroy Men To Take Down The “Patriarchy?”

  1. Great post! The news sensationalizes the bad. I like stories about cops rescuing kittens or helping women give birth, but you have to search for those. One bad cop wrongfully shoots someone? That will dominate every news outlet for a week. Of course not all men are bad, not all white men or any flavor of men. It’s just trendy to pick on them. Part of the ongoing issue imo is our instinct to look at a certain kind of man as “protector.” It’s built into our primitive brain. We may not need this in the modern world, but primitive brain hasn’t caught up. So women AND men tend to idolize and defend these aggressive bullies who are loud and arrogant and big and jerkfaced. It seems illogical but it’s not when you drill down. What if a saber toothed tiger shows up?! We’ll need him!!! We need to retrain our brains.

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    • Thanks, Paula. I think they’re presenting the Patriarchy as the “saber-tooth tiger hunters,” and that oppressing women has come along for the ride. Each couple has to work out their personal relationship as far as their roles (who takes out the garbage, feeds the baby, kills the spiders, and so on), but, in my opinion, at the end of the day, neither men nor women are superior or inferior, but they are not identical and interchangeable either.

      Liked by 1 person

    • It’s the side of view currently promoted by third (or is it fourth now) wave feminism and leftist progressive social theory. Obviously, I agree that violence of men against women (or anyone against anyone else) is bad, but the question is, what’s the underlying cause and the overarching solution. Playing the “blame game” won’t help.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Go back and attempt to find commonalities in these men vs. those who don’t commit violent crimes. This isn’t anything new. There are tendencies (they’re not absolutes) that males raised without a positive father figure, other positive male role models, methods of expressing pain, sorrow, frustration, anger in socially acceptable ways, examples of activities appropriate for males in our culture, to end up disenfranchised, alone, bitter, angry, and with inadequate or non-existent coping mechanisms. When they decide to “pop,” it usually means people are going to be hurt. One of the problems is that the traditional family model is also being deconstructed as well as (some people aren’t going to agree with this one) a moral structure based on faith, so in a world where morality is becoming increasingly relative, these guys have few to no anchors to hold onto.

        I think that’s one of the reasons we have traditionally had organizations for boys and young men, such as the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts, so that they can learn to create a positive, male image of themselves based on role models and morally centered activities. However, since those institutions are also being deconstructed, again, the anchors are vanishing.

        Are there ways of providing all that and still not stray too far afield from modern, progressive attitudes? I don’t know. The answer would take a lot more than a single blog post. I’m just writing this to process my own thoughts and feelings about it and to have a discussion. I can see where I’ve probably stepped on some toes, but to be fair, I’ve got mashed toes, too.

        Liked by 2 people

      • You are right. Blog posts won’t fix the problems. But it’s a way to spread awareness and to start a debate. Faith and good moral values play an important role in grounding the youth and providing a anchor.

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    • The title is somewhat dramatic, and I’m not attributing anything to you. The question is, what’s the solution to the problems brought up by the co-hosts of this radio show and the experts they interview? The problem I see is that they present no solution at all. If I were a young, white, male, university student listening to this and still trying to get a handle of what it is to be male in the world, this show’s content could very well lead me to despair. I did try to separate being male from the patriarchy, so it doesn’t necessarily have to be applied to each and every white male, but the way I see this series and well as their one on “whiteness,” while they’re good at “deconstructing,” they aren’t building anything else in its place.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That was my point, yes — the title here (at the top) and the refrain (you’ve said it before). Also, though, the disgusting pictures that have nothing to do with what I said or recommended. And more.

        We live in a large world. I don’t have to get everything from one place. I’m a grown up with lots of experience and resources. It’s good to move off of the fact you wouldn’t want your grandson to listen to the series, because you’re not nine years old. It’s a bit surprising so often for the response to be along the lines of I’m a man, don’t make me cry. (Kind of reinforces the particular story I recommended, minus certain aspects.) It’s more iffy with a college student; there are varying levels of other influences and mental capabilities.

        I was part of a Messianic congregation (when I lived elsewhere), James. [I originally “met” you {online like this} and began regularly reading a different one of your blogs (before this one existed) because you claimed to be messianic.] You would’ve been very unhappy in such a setting. One example: there is a book that was commonly available called the likes of “Their Blood is on Our Hands.” Doesn’t quite matter that you’re, however many times I’ve read you say it, married to a Jewish woman. So I guess you’d have gone around tearing down the place. The title wasn’t locally created, to attribute to some weirdo “hate-filled ” writer in my locality. The book was widely distributed and recommended by rabbis (not lefties that you barely consider Jews either), not sold for the making of money (like many religious books) but promoted for the thought and history.

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  2. I think I’d like to stir the pot some more by challenging the equation of “Patriarchy” and violence or misogyny. In one of your responses above, James, you invoked organizations which in a previous generation served to present and inculcate positive male role models and principles. These organizations certainly did not foster misogyny, and they channeled natural male aggressive energies into constructive projects. Indeed, I’ll go so far as to suggest that there is a positive role for patriarchy. In ancient times, it was in fact the mechanism for protection of family, clan, tribe, and nation against those who would harm them or their individual members. It was the channel for nurturing a sense of personal responsibility. I will agree with your assertion that tearing down the notion of patriarchy, to do away with it, is in fact a recipe for disastrously destructive violence by those who thus lack proper channels for their natural energies. Note that patriarchy per se does not inhibit the operation of women’s networks and their own channels of empowerment. It does inhibit “matriarchy”, which by its nature does tend to inhibit the natural powers of males rather than to encourage their development. There is a natural biological imperative driving the male-dominant social structures that have characterized humanity throughout our entire history. We ignore it at our peril.

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  3. I have a question for Marleen, but the post that provoked it does not offer a “Reply” button. Therefore I’m posting a separate post, here.

    I’m curious about the book you cited, Marleen: “Their Blood is on Our Hands”. Since my experience with the Messianic Jewish Movement in the USA extends back some 48 years (though perhaps I should discount the two seven-year periods I have lived in Israel), it seems to me that I ought to have heard of this book — but it is entirely unfamiliar to me. Can you provide any more information about its author or publisher, or where and when you encountered it? A Google search for info about it has been unrevealing, consequently I tend to doubt how much it could have been “widely distributed and recommended by rabbis”. I’m guessing from its title and the context you described that it was written from the perspective of a gentile regarding Christian persecutions of Jews throughout the past 15-20 centuries — but if you could describe it a bit better, perhaps I could better understand your projection that James would have been unhappy in the setting where you encountered it, and why you cited it as an example that relates somehow to the present topic.

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      • Thanks, James, for the reference. While I never read that book, and I have some criticisms of Michael Brown’s rather Christianized approach to the notion of Jewish messianism, I do now recall hearing about the book (probably when it first was published in 1992). Its description, though, is not quite succeeding to clarify for me why Marleen cited it as an example of something or other that might have evoked from you some displeased response.

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      • I have your similar view of Michael Brown’s “Chriatianized” approach, PL. This was back before a lot of differentiation of groupings occurred. But the book was recommended and carried (on book-tables and in bookstores of Messianic congregations and conventions). Also, even without the book, the attitude was along the line that defensiveness against having to hear about persecution (or saying, I didn’t do it) was itself anti-Semitism.

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      • Thank you Marleen, now I see the connection you were making. One may indeed ask the question that Shakespeare hinted at with the observation in Hamlet Act 3, Scene 2, as Hamlet’s mother, the Queen, comments on his play-within-the-play about the Queen who is one of its characters, saying “The lady doth protest too much, methinks”. While it’s not always true that protests of the sort, saying: “It wasn’t me; I didn’t do it” are indicative of actual guilt rather than misplaced guilt feelings, I can understand the suspicion of it — particularly with culturally-embedded anti-Semitism. Hence I can extrapolate, just as it appears you may be doing, to the suspicion that those who defensively protest-too-much their innocence of misogyny might be harboring guilt feelings about it. In both cases justice would demand a degree of caution, investigation and analysis not to jump to such a conclusion precipitously or unwarrantedly.

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      • That can happen, yes (that a racist or misogynist or antisemite protests to deflect from a sense of guilt in having actually done something wrong). It can also be to misdirect others (as the continued wrong attitudes [and connected behaviors] may be desired by many not only for oneself but in others). Somewhat common when it comes to anti-Semitism (even among friends, sadly, in subtle ways rather than outright hostility), it’s not tremendously uncommon when it comes to sexism or misogyny either (or racism, but that’s another topic). In fact, in my country anyway, I’d say sexism and misogyny are more acted on than is anti-Semitism. I tend not to go that far in my thinking toward a near stranger (although it becomes more likely as the unreasonable objections stack up and persist).

        In terms of the Messianic congregational setting back in time, making some kind of minimizing* (but friendly) remark in reaction to discussion of bigotry often had to do with simply not recognizing that the topic was important. Some people don’t/didn’t want to hear “negative” things, so they balked when historical persecution came up and when current blind attitudes were referenced. (Depending on whether children are around, for one main example, speaking of certain things might be better left to another time or setting — but that’s not what I’m addressing at the moment.) Other people were reacting more out of a sense that since they were there and they were nice people, then it should be obvious anti-Semitism isn’t significant because we could just have our little private utopia.

        * Minimizing (and self-referencing) was anti-Semitism or treated as enabling of it.

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    • For clarity’s sake, PL, I have looked up “projection” (which I passed by lightly, in your writing, in order to get to the point in my response for what I thought you were really or primarily asking — which I think I have done (earlier) — and possibly to go back to the word later, as in now). [I have used the word projection at times in posts (not under this topic), but I know there are more meanings than the way(s) I used it.]

      {I’m leaving out any italics and boldface that were at the
      site from which I got the definitions below.}
      pro·jec·tion
      [prəˈjekSH(ə)n]
      NOUN
      projections (plural noun)
      1) an estimate or forecast of a future situation or trend based on a study of present ones.
      “plans based on projections of slow but positive growth” · “population projection is essential for planning”
      synonyms:
      estimate · forecast · prediction · calculation · prognosis · prognostication · reckoning · expectation · forecasting · estimation · computation · extrapolation
      2) the presentation of an image on a surface, especially a movie screen.
      “quality illustrations for overhead projection”
      • an image projected on a surface.
      “the background projections featured humpback whales”
      • the ability to make a sound, especially the voice, heard at a distance.
      “I taught him voice projection”
      3) the presentation or promotion of someone or something in a particular way.
      “the legal profession’s projection of an image of altruism”
      • a mental image viewed as reality.
      “monsters can be understood as mental projections of mankind’s fears”
      • the unconscious transfer of one’s own desires or emotions to another person.
      “we protect the self by a number of defense mechanisms, including repression and projection”
      4) a thing that extends outward from something else.
      “the particle board covered all the sharp projections”
      synonyms:
      protuberance · protrusion · sticking-out bit · overhang · ledge · shelf · ridge · prominence · spur · outcrop · outgrowth · jut · bulge · jag · snag · flange · eminence
      5) geometry
      the action of projecting a figure.
      6) the representation on a plane surface of any part of the surface of the earth or a celestial sphere.
      • a method for representing part of the surface of the earth or a celestial sphere on a plane surface.

      Rather than a projection (other than the fact people may create images in relation to stories or settings or contexts and that this is largely how language works, whenever… not only when I post — #2 for making pictures in the mind rather than on a projector screen), I was making more of a comparison. We could, I suppose, stretch meaning #5 as in when one uses tools [including a protractor] to recreate an equivalent triangle or angle or other figure by measuring and so forth, drawing the additional depiction. I will describe the comparison.

      If someone is offended at being asked to take care and potentially change behavior or habits or awareness about sexism, that person might in a similar way be offended at the asking to take care about anti-Semitism. In the case at hand, the passage of time and leading up to now could mean the rearranging of that sentence — that someone who wouldn’t want to hear about anti-Semitism wouldn’t want to hear about sexism (misogyny, whatever other word). I will admit I displayed an assumption, maybe more than one.

      Granted, I didn’t say James might be unhappy; I said he would. So, what I did was I figured he had [or I illustrated an ideal] regard for women or females like he does for Jewish people (at least the ones he finds conservative enough in his estimation). Alternatively, I figured he has regard for Jews in an equivalent way as he does for a sex that is not male. Now, I might have projected (#3) my own value for both of these descriptions of people while he might have less regard for a sex that is not male than he does for Jewish people.

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      • I used “projection” in the sense of “prognostication” or “looking forward” or “estimating”, Marleen. It was not intended to carry any negative connotation.

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  4. I know this might seem a little flip given the seriousness of the topic, but Ben Shapiro put something on twitter that seems to apply. I’ve said that not all men are bad, evil, and misogynistic, but then again, it helps to be able to recognize those men that should be avoided like a land mine.
    ben shapiro ladies

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  5. I hope I’m wrong, but when I see this image, I can’t help but thinking that the hosts of the radio show I’ve been discussing, plus their listeners wouldn’t have a clue about the kind of loyalty, honor, dedication, and yes, masculinity the image below communicates. My son served in the Corps, and although he’s doing better now, he went through some horrible times, both physically and psychologically.

    I just read a story called Suicide rate up 33% in less than 20 years, yet funding lags behind other top killers. Suicide is the 10th most likely cause of death in America, but unlike mass shootings, there’s no outrage. Celebrities and social justice pundits don’t give a rip. Men are four times more likely than women to kill themselves, and 77 percent of U.S. suicides are completed by men, so you can’t just keep ripping into men about how terrible they are without reaping consequences.

    Teach your children and your grandchildren about loyalty, devotion, and sacrifice, or when the Marine in the photo below dies, those virtues will die with him. I keep looking at the picture, and make fun of me if you will, but I can’t stop crying.

    men

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    • James. I can accuse YOU of not giving a rip too. So what? Where does that get us?

      First of all, you’re accusing me of not caring.
      I cry too. For soldiers, marines, etc.

      Secondly, I give up. No logic, no coming out of your corner.

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      • When did I accuse you of anything, Marleen?

        We seem to periodically go through these situations where I say something, you become angry at me, and I spend a great deal of time trying to figure out what I said to cause you to become angry. If you want to “give up,” which I can only assume means no longer read my content, that’s entirely up to you.

        I’ve been criticizing some of what the “Scene on Radio” program has been producing along with certain social/political viewpoints that devalue and denigrate men, so I don’t know when this turned personal.

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      • That’s the goal anyway, isn’t it? Like the lack of “fun” at a fiction convention being more important than the lack of empathy for a sexual assault victim in real life. It’s your blog, and I’m just a stupid Messian woman. I don’t belong in your world.

        It is a fact that you’re in charge of this place. Fair enough.

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      • Marleen, I never said any of that, nor to I think about you in those terms. I also did not (to the best of my knowledge) express a lack of compassion for sexual abuse victims. I have a great deal of compassion for Janey Williams who appeared on the radio show I referenced above, and I don’t believe I wrote anything about her that could be considered unsympathetic or callous. If I have, please point it out to me.

        All that said, I am the blog owner, so I can create any sort of content I choose as long as it doesn’t violate the Right to Use agreement with WordPress. That means I do go on my rants and air my pet peeves with a certain amount of regularity. However, the last statistic I have for the number of blogs on the internet is something like 141 million, so really, I’m hardly significant. I’m just one more person who has a blog.

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      • James at 1:02 — All that said, I am the blog owner, so I can create any sort of content I choose as long as it doesn’t violate the Right to Use agreement with WordPress. That means I do go on my rants and air my pet peeves …

        I acknowledged that at 12:51.

        Your pet peeves have to do with wanting people to do better than follow laws and user agreements. And, beyond you, people of faith are implored (or used to be) to reach higher.

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  6. There is a larger issue when it comes to sexual assault; everything needs to be put on the table and addressed. That means women who make false allegations of sexual assault or rape should be charged. In as much as there are many legitimate cases of sexual assault those that make false allegations make it harder for those victims to come forward.
    I gather that there are feminist fractions that want to dominate males and are not interested in a society where both male & female share. There are males that feel that females should just stay at home. Either way, society will not really progress if these are the dominate attitudes

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s probably more complicated than that, and I don’t doubt that a great deal of the intent of the aforementioned radio program is to support women and defend them against what they see as historical and institutional abuse by at least some men (and what they refer to at the “patriarchy.”

      The radio show hosts do make some good points, but as I’ve said, both in the blog post and in subsequent comments, boys growing up need to have good, positive examples of what it is to be masculine and a man. Tearing men down to support women is actually doing both men and women a disservice.

      I’ve been busy, both at my day job and taking an online writing class, so I haven’t been as active here on my blog as I usually am. However, I have been noodling around twitter and Facebook, and “Scene on Radio” aside, there are some pretty distressing events occurring in the world just now.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I wrote this for someone else’s blog, but it occurred to me it might fit here.

    That blog owner was talking about hierarchy.

    As “bad, if not worse,” in corporations — or probably worse yet in private companies/businesses — I agree.

    I was listening recently to a podcast about people giving up normal citizen rights when they sign up for military services — and that it has been compared in the Supreme Court to women becoming wives and giving up their rights. (I know this isn’t the same thing you were talking about.) The person sharing the information said we would see this as wrong in other settings, like in business. I think he is right that we would see it as wrong. But most of us are not aware that people sign NDAs privately putting them in similar kinds of positions of having little to no power.

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    • Relative to the military, there is the Military Code of Conduct, the Uniform Code of Military Justice and other laws that define the rights and responsibilities of members of the armed forces, so it’s not like becoming a slave.

      As far as I know, in the modern world, women do not give up rights just because they marry. I’m quite sure my wife of 35+ years would be the first to say that I don’t have to give her permission to do anything.

      I’ve signed many NDAs, including those relative to an authoring contract (the publisher didn’t want me to prematurely discuss the book I was writing out of concern their competition would use the information against them) as well as non-compete agreements. I suppose you could say the limited certain rights, since those agreements restricted what I could and couldn’t say or do in relation to the other parties, but on the other hand, I willingly signed them as a condition of employment.

      No one has absolute rights to do anything they feel like. That’s called anarchy, and in that sort of system, the people or groups able to exert the most physical force or possessing the most resources inevitably take away from those who can’t or don’t.

      This isn’t a perfect world. Relative to the human race as a whole, I’m not even sure what “perfect” would look like this side of Messiah (and even then, I’m sure some people will complain).

      I’m not sure how this conversation evolved toward this direction, but it reminds me of the final scene from the 1951 science fiction film “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” I’ll quote the scene in its entirety, though I’m bolding the sentences that are my point:

      Klaatu (Michael Rennie): I am leaving soon, and you will forgive me if I speak bluntly. The universe grows smaller every day, and the threat of aggression by any group, anywhere, can no longer be tolerated. There must be security for all, or no one is secure. Now, this does not mean giving up any freedom, except the freedom to act irresponsibly. Your ancestors knew this when they made laws to govern themselves and hired policemen to enforce them. We, of the other planets, have long accepted this principle. We have an organization for the mutual protection of all planets and for the complete elimination of aggression. The test of any such higher authority is, of course, the police force that supports it. For our policemen, we created a race of robots. Their function is to patrol the planets in spaceships like this one and preserve the peace. In matters of aggression, we have given them absolute power over us. This power cannot be revoked. At the first sign of violence, they act automatically against the aggressor. The penalty for provoking their action is too terrible to risk. The result is, we live in peace, without arms or armies, secure in the knowledge that we are free from aggression and war. Free to pursue more… profitable enterprises. Now, we do not pretend to have achieved perfection, but we do have a system, and it works. I came here to give you these facts. It is no concern of ours how you run your own planet, but if you threaten to extend your violence, this Earth of yours will be reduced to a burned-out cinder. Your choice is simple: join us and live in peace, or pursue your present course and face obliteration. We shall be waiting for your answer. The decision rests with you.

      No nation, government, or system is perfect (no, not even Canada), but we form them for the same reason Klaatu outlines above. Do we need to improve? Of course. The problem is, not everyone can agree on what constitutes improvement, let alone perfection. Hence these debates weighing various options and opinions on what are sometimes very emotionally charged topics. Unlike Klaatu, we don’t have impartial robot police officers or soldiers enforcing absolute non-aggression. We only have flawed human beings like ourselves. I suppose that’s where our problems lie.

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      • No one has absolute rights to do anything they feel like. That’s called anarchy, and in that sort of system, the people or groups able to exert the most physical force or possessing the most resources inevitably take away from those who can’t or don’t.

        I sure agree with that. Problem is people who portray themselves as in favor of liberty are accomplishing the opposite. It’s libertarianism (and largely Republican — but also neo-liberals such as the Clintons).

        I think you’re not receptive to any point that isn’t filtered through…
        well, your favorites. I referenced the Supreme Court. So shoot me.

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      • The 1951 version of “The Day the Earth Stood Still” is one of my favorites, and I too was impressed with Klaatu’s farewell address. I could envision also the screenwriters who formulated it, and the historical context in which they formulated its phrasings the way they did, which fit well with the simplified description of the interplanetary peacekeeping rules that Klaatu presented. He certainly left no room for nuance or negotiation, and it was, of course, the only formulation that an earthly audience of that era could possibly appreciate.

        At the same time, I felt that I could well share Dr. Barnhart’s feeling that he had about a thousand questions he would like to ask. For example, how did this robotic police force perceive “aggression”? How was it defined, what were its boundaries, what warnings may have been prescribed to be delivered to a perceived aggressor prior to the application of the severe penalty cited by Klaatu, what appeals or negotiations might be possible, relative to the enforcers and relative to the potential conflict between planetary parties that could be severe enough to provoke a potential aggression? One response to Klaatu’s invitation, that I would have recommended, would be to send an earth representative as an observer to this federation of planets. This observer would be tasked to learn Klaatu’s language, to enable him or her to interview others in that federation and to learn how their cultures operated and interacted, and how their expectations and behavior might correspond with earthly notions such as life, liberty, and the pursuit of personal well-being, as contrasted with the potential tyranny that an absolutist robotic police force might reflect.

        If, at some future time, an exploratory vessel such as the original USS Enterprise NX-01 were to approach the planet from which Klaatu has come, and this ship were armed with defensive weaponry such as photonic cannon that could break-up dangerous asteroidal objects, for example, would Klaatu’s interplanetary robotic police intercept it to destroy it and the planet earth from which it came, merely because it possessed armaments? Or would it communicate first to ascertain and perhaps to challenge its mission? All these questions reflect decades of consideration about alien contact subsequent to a first-contact scenario such as this film presented.

        Nonetheless, are we any closer to understanding what it means to act “irresponsibly”, as Klaatu might have meant it? Is the freedom to act irresponsibly different from the freedom to make mistakes and to learn from them? Is armed self-defense “irresponsible”? Can we actually forswear such freedom and still be human? Could we do so and survive, given that we have no guarantees of safety in the face of potential aggression from others who might not be members of Klaatu’s peaceful, well-meaning federation of planets? If we were to agree to forswear all manner of “aggression”, does that mean the death of the exploratory and entrepreneurial motivations, as well?

        In 1951, or shortly before that when this film was scripted, not long after a world-wide conflict between an axis of aggressive nations and an alliance of nations resisting them, it was, perhaps, tempting to define peace in absolutist terms. The Korean conflict had only recently erupted as yet another aggressive invasion across a boundary dividing political ideologies. The long drawn-out peace talks attempting to resolve that conflict while actual warfare continued had not yet begun. Much of science fiction writing and film-making depicted alien contact in terms of invasion. The notion of peaceful, tentative first-contact between benign entities and humans, was yet to be developed or considered. Into that context this film injects Klaatu and his absolutist warning against aggression.

        Does any of this offer any insights toward defining a suitable response to the kinds of aggression about which this original blog essay was directed? We have insurrection, de-legitimization, dehumanization, and demonization in view. We don’t seem to have much consideration from the aggressors about such notions as mutual respect, cooperation, or conflict resolution; but then, that is characteristic of aggressors, is it not? And the fundamental principles and values upon which a settlement should be predicated or enforced have yet to be determined or agreed. I foresee a lot of scorched earth before that occurs.

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      • PL, I can appreciate your articulate attempt to work off of the fiction James brought up. The bottom line, here, though, is that if I’m stupid enough to post in a place that I don’t own, I deserve whatever is dished out. Those are the terms; I get it. Now, despite the fact James doesn’t know how we got on the topic of veterans:

        https://thehill.com/blogs/pundits-blog/the-military/338172-yes-trump-is-privatizing-the-va
        June 16, 2017 – 04:40 PM EDT

        I quote: New proposals announced by the Trump Administration and Department of Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin should dispel any doubt about the administration’s intentions to privatize the Veterans Health Administration.

        Although President Donald Trump and Shulkin have insisted they are opposed to privatization, the proposal the VA Secretary unveiled to the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs on June 7 – coupled with Trump’s Veterans Health Administration budget – will … ultimately dismantle the VHA system.

        In his testimony to the Senate Committee about a replacement for the Veterans Choice Program that sunsets this August [2017], Shulkin said he wants to create the Veterans Coordinated Access Rewarding Experience program.

        …………….

        Murray’s concluding comments underlined the fundamental problem with almost all the proposals coming from Republicans and the Trump administration.

        “What’s missing from the conversation,” she said, is “how you plan to actually build and strengthen the VA system for the long-term. There is no comprehensive plan to…get more frontline providers, increase appointments, expand services, build and upgrade facilities, and bring more veterans into the system.”

        Shulkin’s plan, according to Murray, was moving completely in the “opposite direction.”

        Suzanne Gordon is the author of the … book “The Battle for Veterans’ Healthcare:
        Dispatches from the Frontlines of Policy Making and Patient Care.” ….

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      • https://www.thenation.com/article/pentagon-audit-budget-fraud/

        How US military spending keeps rising even as the Pentagon flunks its audit.
        … NOVEMBER 27, 2018

        ……………

        … Donald Rumsfeld, the notorious micromanaging secretary of defense during the Bush/Cheney administration[, on] September 10, 2001[ …] called a dramatic press conference at the Pentagon to make a startling announcement. Referring to the huge military budget that was his official responsibility, he said, “According to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions.” This shocking news that an amount more than five times as large as the Pentagon’s FY 2001 budget of an estimated $313 billion was lost or even just “untrackable” was—at least for one 24-hour news cycle—a big national story, as was Secretary Rumsfeld’s comment that America’s adversary was not China or Russia, but rather was “closer to home: It’s the Pentagon bureaucracy.” Equally stunning was Rumsfeld’s warning that the tracking down of those missing transactions “could be…a matter of life and death.” No Pentagon leader had ever before said such a thing…

        ……………

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  8. And, by the way, it’s false that there’s no outcry from liberals about veterans and about suicide. That’s a bunch of crap those who call themselves right keeps feeding you.

    Like

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