How to avoid issues

A correspondent translated the short introductory essay to my Anti-Feminism Page and tried to get it published in a large Finnish newspaper. Not surprisingly, they rejected it. Their objections were that it didn’t explain what feminism is and it set forth a conspiracy theory. I was impressed that they hit on two of the three universal neutral reasons for never responding to the substance of objections to feminism:

  1. What you call “feminism” is really some special thing that only applies to a few people, so we don’t have to deal with what you say.
  2. Your characterization of feminism (in this case, “opposition to gender as a principle of social order—to what is called ‘sexism'”) is too abstract and doesn’t have enough content to explain what feminism is, so we don’t have to deal with what you say.
  3. To the extent you do say what feminism is you make it something concrete that involves the cooperation of many people. You are thus presenting a conspiracy theory, so we don’t have to deal with what you say.

The same sort of response applies to anyone who raises any unwelcome issue. What he says is too concrete, in which case it’s a special situation and not of general interest, or it’s too abstract, in which case he’s not saying anything definite, or it’s concrete and he claims it applies broadly, in which case it’s a conspiracy theory. Keep these arguments at your fingertips!

Incidentally, I’ll be out of town again for the next week and won’t be posting. Mr. Auster may or may not be able to take up the slack.

3 thoughts on “How to avoid issues”

  1. Jim Kalb’s essay, “Feminism
    Jim Kalb’s essay, “Feminism and Antifeminism,” is a re-affirmation of simple, elemental truths: pure, bracing, life-giving oxygen, in place of the highly-toxic poison gas forced into our lungs these couple or three decades by “women’s-lib” and the left, together with fellow-traveling societal institutions like our own government, of course (which “women’s lib” and the left somehow took over), and—surprisingly and sickeningly—the Main-line Protestant denominations without exception I believe, together with the Reform and Conservative branches of Judaism.

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the only denominations of Judaeo-Christianity to have successfully resisted the “women’s-lib” juggernaut seem to be the Catholics to a large extent but not completely, the Southern Baptists and Evangelical Christians in general, the Mormons, and the Eastern Orthodox, plus one or two splinter outfits on the Christian side such as for example the Old-Order Amish, and those individual Presbyterian and Episcopalian congregations which have simply refused to go along sheepishly—and, on the Jewish side, the denominations which seem still largely or completely untainted are the Orthodox Jews and the Hasidic Jews.

    Denominations like the Mainline Episcopalians and Presbyterians, the Unitarians, the Quakers (what’s left of them—Richard Nixon was one, I think), and the Reform Jews, are certainly a completely lost cause as far as common-sense rejection of feminism goes.

    On a slightly different tack: I was wondering about a question I didn’t see mentioned in Mr. Kalb’s piece. Is “women’s lib” necessitated by the corresponding and contemporaneous revolution on the male side which, when I was in college, was known as the “Playboy philosophy” (and a totally moronic piece of nonsense it was)? In other words, is part of “women’s lib’s” appeal for women that it is perceived as sort of a necessary reactive self-defense move, given the replacement of traditional male morality by the (inexpressibly idiotic) “Playboy philosophy”? Will it be possible to get rid of women’s lib while the “Playboy philosophy” still reigns?

    Are they the flip side of each other, no more separable than are positive and negative electrical charges in physics?

    (Needless to say, the Finnish editor who rejected Mr. Kalb’s essay was being imbecilic beyond words.)

  2. Unadorned, there was a whole
    Unadorned, there was a whole cycle of feminism which lasted from about 1850-1945 and which was not a response to male sexual libertinism. So I don’t think that feminism necessarily relates to this.

    However, sexual libertinism does seem to have at least fanned the flames of sex conflict in the period of second wave feminism in the late 60s and early 70s. It’s not clear, though, that this libertinism was of purely male inspiration. Neil Lyndon in his book “No More Sex War” believes it was, thinks it was liberating, and berates the women who responded with a feminist sex war. However, Allan Bloom in his book “The Closing of the American Mind” recalls that it was men, even politically radical ones, who came to him to complain that sexually libertine women were ruining themselves for marriage. Elizabeth Powers in an article for Commentary “A Farewell to Feminism” also records that sexual libertinism made women unhappy and susceptible to feminist rage, but she suggests that women themselves went against their better instincts to participate in the “sexual liberation” of the times.

    I wasn’t there, so I find it hard to judge. I think you’re right, though, that young men have to re-learn to follow their own better instincts not to sexually exploit young women, if they want such women to remain uncorrupted for family life.

  3. Unadorned and Mr. Richardson
    Unadorned and Mr. Richardson have a good idea: men are partly responsible for feminism. Women in part seem to be defining themselves in terms of men, who are too self-important. Men have been pooh-poohing “women’s work” as something less powerful and less important than “manly work.” Men, equally prideful women, and maybe another force (such as technology) have coincided to cause the current situation.


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